Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-404"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen. Please allow me to offer my congratulations on the creation of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme (2007-2013) and to congratulate Mr Takkula on the most recent version of the report. Europe's institutional, social and political relationships today form a dense network, the threads of which have become even more closely interwoven since enlargement. Forming active European citizens plays a key role in this process, and the presence of such citizens is indispensable in order to ensure the continued democratic and balanced development of the European Union. If we are to have European citizens who take responsibility for themselves and their society, we need to emphasise what today are considered to be ‘lost’ values, such as freedom, fairness, tolerance and solidarity, which constitute the fundamental values and cohesive bond of European society. I also consider the balanced integration of citizens to be important, but above all, I believe that we need to foster dialogue between different cultures and worldviews. Only in this way can we work together toward a common goal, shaping our own visions while accepting the differences of others and respecting our diversity. Only mutual understanding, solidarity and a sense of belonging can give the citizens of Europe a sense of identity. I support the efforts to shape a European citizenry based on common values, history and culture. It is important to promote and celebrate the values and achievements of today's citizens, while not allowing our memories of the past to sink into oblivion. If we keep our common cultural heritage at the forefront, we will strengthen the foundations of our shared future. In my view, European citizenship means nothing other than taking responsibility for ourselves, our country and the European Union, and freely exercising our rights while respecting the same rights of others. The right balance must also be struck between democratic rights and obligations. This is a common European citizenship of which I would be pleased to be part."@en1

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