Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-07-20-Speech-2-010"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, you are all aware of the history of my homeland. It has played a leading role in all the dramatic events of the twentieth century. My country, Poland, was also the birthplace of the revolt against totalitarianism, a revolt that made the unification of Europe possible. As a result, this House is now one of the institutions of a Europe that is drawing closer together. I come from Central Europe. Poland and all the other countries in this region shared a common fate. Our freedom and independence were threatened on a daily basis, and we feared for the future. Nonetheless, we won through. We are now free and independent nations. Such is the background from which I come before this House. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure you are familiar with my past, and that you know how I came to be what I am today. I have friends across the whole spectrum of political groupings represented in this House. With that in mind, I should like to make the following statement. It was exceedingly fortunate for Europe that we were not left alone to fight for our freedom. We were able to count on the support of all those who believed in their hearts and minds that Europe had to be free. You will recall that Martin Luther King said it is impossible to engage in politics without first having a dream. As I come before this House, I too have a dream. My dream is of a Europe of solidarity. Incidentally, Poland was responsible for bringing the word 'solidarity' into our political vocabulary. As I said, I have a dream of a Europe of solidarity and justice. This House is an institution for such a Europe. Having described how I came to be what I am today, I should like to move on to explain what I would like to become, and why I am standing as a candidate for President of the European Parliament. My ambition is to serve a Europe that grows ever more united. I hope to serve it as a representative of that part of Europe kept apart from the rest for half a century against its will. I hope also to serve it as a representative of a Europe credited with one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century, namely the creation of the European Union. It is my ambition too for Parliament to become a forum for debate. There are Euroenthusiasts, Eurosceptics and Eurorealists in this House, just as there are in societies across Europe. Nonetheless, I hope the House will become a forum for a strategic debate on the future of Europe. It is important for Parliament to fulfil its political role and succeed in bringing together political groupings with differing programmes. These groupings competed against each other in the elections, but it is now time for them to join forces in the House in order to build a united Europe. Allow me to emphasise once again that my aim is for this House to become a forum for strategic debate. I trust that, like the Union itself, it will become a community of nation states and citizens, because Europe owes its greatness to its nations. We need to learn to live together if we are to fulfil our role. Finally, I aspire to become President of a fine and great European Union institution. The Union is one of the greatest democracies in the world. This institution is itself capable of being free and democratic. I stand before you, Members of this House, and appeal to you to have confidence in me and cast your votes in my favour. If you do, yours will certainly be a vote for Europe!"@en1

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