Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-135"

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"Madam President, the remark was made on quite a few occasions yesterday that it is only now that the Second World War has properly come to an end. As one person put it: it is only now that Hitler and Stalin have finally been conquered by Walesa and Havel. Freedom, respect and tolerance have conquered the forces of totalitarianism. That is what makes the step taken today so significant, not mainly for ourselves who are active now, but for those who will follow us. In contrast, rather, to Commissioner Verheugen, whose efforts we all have every reason to be grateful for today, I should like to state that it was precisely this state of affairs that the fathers of the EU wanted to achieve: the Europe without borders, in which we no longer talk about East and West as a political dividing line. On a day such as today, it is important that we should not construct new borders, but be open not only to the possibility of others too joining, but also to the old Member States’ taking on board some of the new things that enlargement can provide. Politicians of a new breed have, as from now, taken their place in this Parliament. They are people who, irrespective of their position, have helped to give their peoples freedom and have now led them into a still larger community. On the morning after 1 May, I found myself attending mass at a little Catholic church in Tallinn in Estonia where the priest was talking about the hot topic of the day. ‘We have always asked how we shall benefit if we become Members of the EU and what we should get out of it,’ he said. ‘A Christian’s first question, however, is not, of course, how do I stand to benefit, but what can I give?’ We have a very great deal to learn from what these people have to give who have now taken their places among us and whose values and ideas not even the very worst weapons of Soviet power could overcome. I can only hope that the rest of us will listen, learn and be receptive."@en1

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