Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-054"

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"Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, this speech marks the end of my fifteen years of service in this House, which, I would like to point out, is the legitimate representative of the European citizens and of which I have had the honour of being President. I would not be worthy of wearing the Jean Monnet medal or the Schuman medal if I restricted myself simply to taking pleasure in seeing the 25 flags and receiving our fellow Members from the new Member States, nor if I confined myself to expressing my satisfaction with the direction taken. We must talk about the future of Europe, and that is what this debate is about. I believe that the future of Europe, Mr President, will involve overcoming five challenges: completing enlargement, creating more efficient and democratic European institutions, effectively combating terrorism inside and outside Europe, providing the Union with the financial resources it needs to implement financial policies and, finally, to turn the Union into a factor for peace and development at global level. I have talked about completing enlargement, because we have the immense pleasure of having the ten new States and their representatives in this Parliament, but this must not lead us to forget that we have to fulfil our commitments to Bulgaria and Rumania and that we have the moral duty to complete the work of establishing peace that we have carried out in the rest of the Balkans and incorporate those States into our European family. Until we have done so we will not be able to say realistically that the iron curtain has been entirely removed and that we have successfully included everybody in the European family. Overcoming the second challenge, of providing the Union with efficient institutions, means approving and ratifying the Constitution. I expressed my thoughts about that Constitution in the report which this House approved and which I produced together with Professor Tsatsos. Today I would just like to add one thing, particularly for those people who allow themselves to be led by internal bickering: it is very important that we can have simple and comprehensible decision making by majorities, but it is essential that this system of majorities, Mr President-in-Office of the Council – and I address this to you in particular – is sufficient to allow balanced decisions to be taken within the Union, without allowing for leaders or groups who wish to lead other groups of States. And this is a difficult task which, unquestionably, the Irish Presidency must complete and on which ratification not achieved beforehand will largely depend. I have also referred to financial sufficiency. This is a principle that Jean Monnet stressed, without which we have a larger Europe but a much emptier one. A Europe which will not be able to implement the Community policies that have existed until now. That is something the Constitution does not resolve and I very much fear, Mr President, that it will lead to a crisis over the coming years within our Europe, a crisis which I trust will be overcome. It will be overcome simply by adhering to a basic principle, the principle of solidarity. Solidarity, not fruitless rivalries or ridiculous aspirations to hegemony: that is the message I wanted to leave you with on my departure. I will end, Mr President, by thanking all those people who have been in this House during my three terms of office: Members of Parliament, officials and colleagues from the groups and other Members, representatives of the Council and the Commission, and all the authorities with which I have had the opportunity to work. I have learnt a lot from everybody, I would urge you all to continue fighting for an increasingly democratic and fair Europe of solidarity, which is able to overcome the crises that arise. Mr President, the future does not belong to those who allow themselves to disappear into the shadows of doubt and danger. The future belongs to those who, despite the uncertainties of the present, can see the coming of tomorrow’s dawn."@en1

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