Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-188"

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"Mr President, enlargement of the European Union from 15 to 25 Member States is resulting in inevitable changes to its economic, administrative, and social structure. The average gross national product per capita is lower. Unemployment has risen, and society is becoming more divided. The number of poorer persons has increased significantly. There is a greater number of less developed regions, and these regions require support from the Union’s budget. At the same time, however, there have been some very positive developments. Our common market has grown. Internal competitiveness has increased, which will strengthen our external competitiveness. Structural and economic changes in the ten new Member States are opening up great opportunities for development. A so-called baby-boom generation is starting productive adult life in Poland. For the most part, these young people are, well educated citizens, prepared for the challenges of a modern economy. A younger generation of Europeans, open to innovation and progress, is our greatest asset. Social Europe imposes restrictions on economic Europe. It reduces the competitiveness of the economy. This does not mean, however, that we must dispense with Europe’s social heritage, which is so important for our citizens. It need not hamper the search for new tools for development. Recently I was asked what associations the European Union has for me, what buildings, monuments, historical events, achievements, it brought to mind. I answered that Europe does indeed have great buildings, magnificent monuments, and beautiful chapters of history. I said that Europe has wonderful traditions and achievements, but that for me Europe is associated with the values it developed and offers to the world. These values are democracy, human rights, and security for the individual, including economic and social security. They have to be the fundamental prerequisites and guidelines for the philosophy and development of the European Union."@en1

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