Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-07-20-Speech-2-020"

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"Mr President, Mr President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, you, Mr President, are now the elected President of the European Parliament and of all its Members. On behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, I would like to extend to you heartfelt congratulations and to wish you success in your office as President of Parliament, for success for you is success for us all. I would like to express warm respect and high regard for Mr Geremek, whose life’s achievements I personally hold in the highest estimation – as does our group – and thank him for what he has done for Poland and for Europe. I would also, though, like to testify to the respect I have for Mr Wurtz, even though I have no sympathy whatever with what he had to say in his speech today. Mr Wurtz, you are always, however, an honest partner to have, including in the Conference of Presidents, and I have personal regard for you. I believe that it will be to this House’s benefit if we continue to work together in a spirit of mutual trust despite all our political differences. Further to that, let me observe that no group, not even the largest – the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, which has 268 MEPs – holds a majority in the European Parliament. Experience tells us that it is quite normal, a quite normal political activity, to seek out majorities in such a situation. In the last Parliament, which sat from 1999 to 2004, we in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats came to an agreement with the Liberals, with Mr Watson, with whom I have generally worked well, and I hope that I will continue to do so in future. My friends, Parliament would, however, be somewhat out of balance if one Liberal were now to be succeeded by another, and if the second-largest group in this House were to be kept out of the Presidential office for at least twelve-and-a-half years. For that reason, we in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats have come to this agreement with the Socialist Group, and we have given you our support. Let me make, if I may, a final observation. We in this European Parliament – and I see that Mr Prodi is here, to whom we, as a rule, gave our support, even though that was sometimes very difficult – have a great interest in the stability of the European institutions, and so I appeal to everyone, now that we have taken this decision today, to vote on Thursday for José Manuel Durão Barroso and thereby to demonstrate that we seek stability for the European Commission too. The last thing I have to say to you is that, in this House, issues of policy will continue to be the subject of tough debate between the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, the Socialists and others. The issues will still be there, and will still be bones of contention, but it is important that the institutions be stable. What joins us together and unites us is our defence of democracy, our defence of the rule of law, our commitment to solidarity and peace in our continent as it comes together as one. That is our common task, and in that, Mr President, I wish you success with all my heart."@en1
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