Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-07-20-Speech-2-019"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all I offer my most sincere congratulations to President Borrell Fontelles on his election. His previous experience is a guarantee of a useful and fruitful presidency. This is a great undertaking, since the President has to direct the work of an institution which, precisely because it has been directly elected, will be affected more than the others by enlargement, by the approval of the Constitution and by the great international tensions that are rocking the world today. This House will be a place of debate and decision even more than it has been in the past, and it must ensure that the citizens of Europe can play an ever greater democratic role. I just want to stress that this Parliament has elected its new President at an extraordinary juncture. We have seen how complex our constitutional reform has been, as it was approved only a few weeks ago after heated and difficult debate. The result was not a foregone conclusion at all and I welcome it enthusiastically, but it has also created a decisive role for Parliament in the campaign for ratification, which is to start straight away and will be one of the most difficult tasks ahead of us. Let me now recall our enlargement, another unquestionable success for the Union. Tough negotiations in which our common interests prevailed have enabled 25 countries to share their hopes for the future. I also recall – and with less satisfaction – the low turnout of voters in the European elections. Even though all the opinion polls show that Europe is considered to be increasingly necessary in order to face up to our great challenges, we are still faced with the need to bring the institutions closer to the daily lives of Europe’s citizens. This is one of Parliament’s foremost tasks. As happened during the last term, the Commission and the European Parliament are collaborating closely so that our common interests can prevail; this is one reason for this alliance, which in formal terms is reflected in the European Parliament’s vote of confidence in the President of the Commission. My Commission has made every effort to develop this collaboration, thanks also to the framework agreement and the daily work of implementing it. Once again, I thank President Cox for having been a fully cooperative and open partner. The results of our work on codecision and in other areas are exceptional and unprecedented, and I am sure that this collaboration will continue with the new Commission, which will be called upon to consolidate this year’s results and to develop them further. Together, the Commission and Parliament must impart fresh impetus to the European integration process, with the fundamental objective of continuing along the path towards enlargement and the Constitution. Mr President, please allow me to say a last word of thanks to your institution, with which I have worked for five years. Without Parliament’s stimulus, without its checks and without its in-depth political debate, even though it may be harsh at times, we would certainly not have achieved this enormous volume of work. These have been years of major results, which have been transformed into concrete benefits for the people and stronger hopes for our common future. Mr President, I wish you and the new Parliament all the best in your work."@en1

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