Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-200"

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"Ladies and gentlemen, today is the first time that Members of Parliament from the new EU Member States have been able to put their opinions forward. It is a pity that these opinions are being delivered in such a private environment. Nevertheless, it is of course an honour for me to appear before the European Parliament. I come from Slovakia, which, just like the other new EU Member States, has undergone huge changes in the last 15 years, changes which often took decades in the advanced democracies. These changes have been very painful and have brought with them great inequalities and social injustice. We are the living proof that, if the social aspects of the market economy are ignored, along with the effects of experimental reforms on the population, and if the invisible hand of the market is continually overemphasised, it is one hundred per cent certain that the result will be enormous differences in standards of living and enormous differences between regions. I believe that we have had enough fireworks and receptions celebrating the enlargement of the European Union. It must be borne in mind that the Union now includes countries where average income is about EUR 160 and average earnings are about EUR 360 a month. Full compliance with the European economic and social model may act as an emergency brake for some Member States. We may, of course, have great reservations about this model, but socially fairer and more forward-looking models are very difficult, if not impossible, to devise. We wish to use our experiences from the last 15 years to make as constructive a contribution as possible to the implementation of this model. We do not wish to be the part of Europe which is only attractive because of its low labour costs and weak social protection. The introduction of restrictions on the free movement of workers has not been the best of contributions to the European economic and social model. It is essential to express the conviction that further such ‘contributions’ will not occur and that equality and solidarity will not be restricted to glossy brochures about the European Union, but will be real European values."@en1

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