Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-07-20-Speech-2-018"

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"Ladies and gentlemen, my first words as President of the European Parliament must be words of gratitude; also of commitment and looking to the future but, above all, words of gratitude. His has been a brilliant presidency, respectful of all groups and all Members, very active in seeing through the process of European reunification and constantly mindful of the political visibility of this Parliament. The very existence of the Convention and the impetus Parliament gave to its work is due, to a large extent, to the will demonstrated by Pat Cox to move the Union away from its inter-governmental tendency and make Parliament, as now expressly acknowledged in the draft Constitution, the representative of the European citizens. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Members of Parliament of all countries who represented our Parliament in the work of the Convention for their work. I know from my own experience how important their contribution was and, though I cannot mention them all by name, I will refer in particular to the important role played by those who represented us in the Praesidium, Mr Klaus Hänsch and Mr Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, and also Mr Elmar Brok, who followed the Intergovernmental Conference. ( ) Finally, as President of this Parliament, I would like in particular to welcome the Members representing the ten new Member States, and I hope that soon Members from Romania and Bulgaria will also join us and thereby put an end, in the words of Milan Kundera, to the kidnap of half of the West. While quoting that great European writer, I would like to remind you that in the film version of 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being', the roofs and cupolas we believe to be Prague are in fact those of Lyon, firm proof of the common identity shared by the two halves of an area which has inherited the same culture. So, at what for me is a highly emotional time, I feel that democracy is not just a system of political organisation based on institutions elected by the citizens. It is based – in particular ours, a plurinational and therefore more complex one – on an idea of Man which came before systems of government. Aware of my enormous responsibility from this point on, in which passion for democracy and passion for Europe come together in one single challenge, I wish to leave the explanation of my strategic outlook for this term of office for the next plenary sittings after the summer. I believe this is best for two reasons: firstly, because we must have the time and the opportunity to exchange impressions and to draw up this strategic vision together with the Vice-Presidents, when they are elected, and with the leaders of the political groups. We must all contribute to a vision which is not just of the President, but of the whole House. Secondly, the President of the Council is here today and in a few hours time we will hear from the candidate proposed by the Council as President of the Commission, Mr Barroso, who will be subject to vote by Parliament, and I believe we need a better window of opportunity in terms of media attention than we have at the moment with so many other events taking place. As I said to you in my presentation, it is my political responsibility to do everything I can to ensure that the European Parliament is involved in the process of ratifying the Constitutional Treaty, particularly in the countries which are going to do so by means of a referendum. We are all aware that, apart from this great issue, our agenda is already overflowing with matters we must deal with: the new Commission, initiating working relations with it and with the Council, examining the Union’s financial perspectives, analysing the situation of the Stability and Growth Pact following the recent failure of the Court of Justice, future enlargements, implementing the new legislative powers of this Parliament and continuing the work of Pat Cox in cooperation with national parliaments and the Euro-Mediterranean Assembly. Firstly, to the Oldest Member, Mr Berlinguer, for the way he has led our first parliamentary sitting of this term in office ... Furthermore, many international issues will demand our attention. The world will knock on Europe’s door and particularly on Parliament’s door. Perhaps the most urgent issues are those relating to the dramatic situation in the Middle East. Ladies and gentlemen, honourable Members of the European Parliament, it only remains for me to assure you that I will apply all my will and all my abilities, all my reason and all my passion, that I may be a match for the high institutional and strategic position you have entrusted to me. I would like finally to thank all the workers in this institution without whose work we would not be able to carry out our own. Thank you very much to all of you. ( ) ... and, secondly, to the candidates who have offered their abilities and their will to serve Europe as President of this Parliament. I am sure that I will be able to cooperate in an honest and positive way with all of them, taking advantage of the huge political experience in this Parliament of Mr Wurtz, and of Mr Gueremek, in terms of the events which have modelled our Europe. I must express my respect for, and my desire to cooperate with, those Members who, for whatever reason, have not voted for me, and my gratitude to all of those who have put their trust in me, beginning with the Group of the European Socialist Party who proposed my candidature. The majority I have received gives stability to this institution and, following the debate and the democratic decision made, I now feel that I have all the legitimacy I need to direct the work of this Parliament and I would call on you all from now on to work effectively. I would like to pay tribute to our former President, Mr Pat Cox, for the way in which he has carried out his duties over the last thirty months."@en1

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