Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-06-23-Speech-4-061"

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"Mr President, Mr Blair, Mr President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, the same House that, yesterday, gave the outgoing President-in-Office of the Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, a standing ovation, today gave you, Mr Blair, a convincing round of applause to welcome you into office. That amounts to a huge pledge of confidence in you on the part of this House, whose Members are the representatives of the citizens of this European Union – the true representatives, because they are the only ones to be directly elected. At a time when this European Union is going through an identity crisis – and you yourself, Mr Blair, spoke of a crisis of leadership – it is vital that we remember that this Europe of ours, having been in existence for 50 successful years, needs a ‘bottom-up’ rather than ‘top-down’ approach. What that means is that we have to carry the public with us rather than alienate them, and whose vocation is it to do that if not their directly elected representatives? This is not just about Europe’s need for better regulations; most of all, it needs fewer of them, and that I say not only to the Commission, but also to the Members on the left of the political spectrum here in this House. In many respects, Mr Blair, your speech was persuasive; you were particularly convincing when you spoke of the principle that some changes are necessary if what is good is to be retained. That principle is one that your future successor as President-in-Office of the Council, Austria’s Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, has chosen as his watchword. I also welcome your desire to resolve the dispute about the European Union’s objectives that has ensued from the constitutional crisis. I have to say, though, that your presidency will be judged not only by what it intends to do but also, and especially, by what it actually does. I therefore hope that you will not mind if I ask what practical steps you intend to take in order to get the Financial Perspective completed under your presidency; secondly, what you propose to do to keep the constitutional process alive; and, thirdly, what answers you would give to those members of the public who fear that the European Union is over-extending itself. Do you not think there is something paradoxical about mentioning Turkey and Croatia in the same breath? Many members of the public have misgivings about a large country like Turkey, but not about a small one like Croatia."@en1

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