Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-05-Speech-3-033"

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". Mrs Maes, you have raised some fundamentally important issues, the first of which is zero tolerance. I can honestly say that, for the first time in the history of the European institutions, we have conducted a thorough, in-depth reform of our working methods, and here I really must thank Commissioner Kinnock. This tends to be a job that no one wants to take on, precisely because for many long years it only causes headaches and brings no benefits; nonetheless, we really have laid the foundations for zero tolerance. We now have strict rules and I hope we shall truly be able to abide by them. The other two issues you raised are exceptionally important, and I should like to link them together. You will say, ‘What has Africa got to do with gender equality?’ You see, the other day the European Commission met with the African Union Commission, in which there were as many men as women. Well, I must say I felt a little ashamed, because they taught us an amazing lesson about being able to move with the times. Moving on to the Mediterranean, I would say that our Mediterranean policy is a fundamental part of what I have called the circle of friends. We must not forget that it will require substantial resources in the coming five-year term. I hope that the Mediterranean Foundation and then the Bank will also be approved straight away, for the question of peace hinges on this. The dividing line between our different cultures is precisely where tensions are running high at the moment, and this is a barrier we have to tear down. Thus, with economic dialogue through the Bank and cultural dialogue through the Foundation, there are great prospects for close relations and a ring of friends in the southern Mediterranean. I believe another solid, genuine step forward has been achieved in recent days in our relations with Libya. It has not been achieved for the sake of demagogy but because we really have to create an area of peace in the Mediterranean. No one can understand the situation as well as you who live here in the middle of it, but it is essential for our future."@en1

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