Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-06-23-Speech-4-072"

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". Mr President, Members of this House, Prime Minister Blair, I agree with you that it was a very interesting and useful debate. We all understand that this situation is a very special one. It should not be seen as business as usual. I understand that there is a real appetite for a frank debate. There were, of course, different views, but this debate has shown that there is a will for the search for consensus. In that search for consensus, it is important to avoid simplifications: the idea to put those who are in favour of a free market against those who are for social commitment; the idea to put political integration against economic integration. The truth is that we need economic integration and political integration. We need a consensus, but not one that ignores the need for the hard choices that Europe must make. There is now a risk in Europe: the risk of populism. Sometimes populism on the left against globalisation and foreign competition; sometimes populism on the right, just against foreigners and against the very idea of Europe. That is why it is important that all those who have some responsibility in Europe – be it at national or European level – fight that populism and show, collectively, their commitment to the values that make Europe a great project. That is why it is important that responsible politicians fight that populism and do not resort to tabloid politics. That is why it is important that we should not be blocked now by the institutional problems we have. We must go ahead with our programme. The European Union must avoid paralysis. That is why it is very urgent to have a solution for the financial perspectives. That is why we have to respond to the expectations, namely of the new Member States that are looking to us for solidarity. That was their expectation and we should be committed to meeting their expectations. That is why Europe needs ambition for reform and solidarity. The way forward for Europe is not to avoid the very idea of solidarity. Without solidarity and cohesion there is no such thing as a Union. A Union requires the mechanisms of solidarity. I am looking forward to working with you, Prime Minister Blair, in what I hope will be a successful presidency. You can count on us. We are going to our work every day. We have been doing everything to avoid the idea that Europe is paralysed. After that very difficult European Council, Prime Minister Juncker and I attended the successful summits in Canada and the United States. Yesterday we had a very successful conference here on Iraq. Yesterday the Commission took very important and courageous decisions: the Green Paper on energy efficiency; a new sugar market reform – which shows, by the way, that the common agricultural policy can also be reformed. This evening I leave for Africa because, like you, I attach great importance to the African agenda and our solidarity with that continent. I hope that I will also help your G8 presidency for the goals for Africa and our solidarity. To conclude and to summarise, we have to reform and change. However, when we speak about reform and change we are speaking about reforming our economy and making it more competitive. We are not speaking about changing or reforming the old values of the European Union or of Europe, the values that were those of our founding fathers for a European Union that believes in solidarity with ambition for all our citizens."@en1

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