Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-07-20-Speech-2-011"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the election of the President of our Parliament constitutes our first political act of this new term of office. What clear and coherent message are we going to deliver to our fellow citizens on this occasion? The question is an important one, given the extent to which the public image of the European institutions has become confused, if not suspect, and with good cause: how are people to find their way around the issue when, for all these years, votes from the left and right have systematically combined to administer the liberal economic model, or when Mr Blair and Mr Aznar, like their supporters in this House, have combined their efforts to support George W. Bush in his military adventure. As many of us said during the recent election campaign, the moment has come to put an end to these confused identities and to make the divisions between progressives and conservatives visible and comprehensible. My candidacy has no objective other than that of being faithful to this commitment. In the first round of this highly symbolic election, it offers all left-wing MEPs the opportunity to express their disagreement with unnatural arrangements, whether they be traditional ones, such as that linking the Group of the Party of European Socialists to the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, or less expected but no less pernicious arrangements, like that which at present links the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance to the Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party. In the second round – if second round there be – the vast majority of my group will adopt an attitude in keeping with the adage: in the first round, you choose; in the second, you eliminate. We respect Mr Geremek as an eminent European intellectual, and we recognise the importance of the role he played as a political player during a crucial period in the history of our continent. We cannot, however, support his candidacy when it comes either to the very orthodox options he perceives in economic and social matters – options we believe are at the heart of the disaffection demonstrated by our fellow citizens at the last elections, both in the old Member States and still more so in the new ones – or when it comes to his positions on the war in Iraq, which is, for us, the symbolic issue. I would point out that Mr Geremek – who, I am not embarrassed to say, usually has the courage of his convictions – has embraced the logic of the Vilnius Ten’s manifesto, whereas the left in the European Parliament has, for its part, sided with public opinion, the majority of which, unlike Madrid in Warsaw, aspired to a political solution under the aegis of the United Nations. In our view, the attitude adopted to the war is even more than an issue of political etiquette. That is the way it is. The former group chairmen will remember the proposal I made that the latest Sakharov Prize be awarded to a liberal politician, Mr Hans Blix, who, above and beyond the political choices he perceived, symbolised this other way for which we hoped and prayed. With the exception of three MEPs, who have stated that they will abstain, my group will therefore transfer its votes to Mr Josep Borrell in the second round of this ballot. Although our choice can of course be criticised, neither its coherence nor its clarity can be disputed. That too is what democracy is about."@en1

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