Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-178"
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"Mr President, enlargement of the European Union finally took place a few days ago. Enlargement poses new challenges with respect to how the Union should operate and how joint decisions on its future should be taken. Speaking as a representative of the Union for Europe of the Nations Group, and also as a Pole, I would like to make it quite clear that I am a strong advocate of the concept of a Europe of the nations. Such a Europe would draw strength from the diversity and richness of all its regions. It would be a Europe of solidarity. There is no doubt that one of the most urgent challenges facing the Community is work on eradication of the economic differences that arose within our continent as a result of the settlements at the Yalta conference. These settlements were imposed on Poland by force. We therefore now have every moral right to demand substantial support for development. Currently, the standard of living in all the Polish voivodships falls below 75% of the European Union average. Some of them barely reach 35% of the Union average. The Swietokrzyskie voivodship is one such example. This means the Union’s policy of aid for poorer regions must be one of the most important issues in the coming years. In the course of the debate on the European Union’s budget it should become clear whether the old Member States are prepared to give priority to the principle of solidarity over and above their immediate local economic interests. I have the honour to address the European Parliament today on behalf of the Malopolskie and Swietokrzyskie District. I am delighted to be instrumental in ensuring that its voice can be heard in this House, where all the nations of Europe are represented. The south of Poland is famous for being thrifty and hard-working. I am therefore convinced that the people of our region will cope and succeed in the new European Union. Our success, however, the success of these two areas, will require solidarity from you, the representatives of the richer part of Europe. We need help to develop our infrastructure. The south of Poland must have better communication links with the rest of Europe. We need support for the sound and painless restructuring of our agriculture. Finally, we need programmes enabling the young people of the Malopolskie and Swietokrzyskie voivodships to take full advantage of educational opportunities in the enlarged European Union. Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to invite you to Krakow, one of the most beautiful cities of Europe and the capital of our region. Its glorious history, architecture, and the remarkable character of its people create a unique atmosphere. Millions of foreign visitors come and enjoy it every year."@en1
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