Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-12-13-Speech-3-033"

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"Mr President, I would like to begin by congratulating Mr Stubb on his work as shadow rapporteur for the Socialist Group in the European Parliament. He has done some serious work, which meets two fundamental conditions for this kind of report. Firstly, it provides an appropriate response to an extremely important issue, and secondly, and this is key, it unites large majorities in this House. I believe that this report is likely to follow the pattern of other reports, such as the Corbett-Méndez de Vigo report, which achieved the practically unanimous support of the European Parliament in their time, and that gave them strength. I believe that, in particular, because we are discussing Mr Stubb’s report and are going to approve it before the meeting of the European Council in a few days’ time and following the success of the Second Interparliamentary Forum on the Future of Europe, which took place here last week. It is true that we must talk about integration capacity and not absorption capacity. We must respond to the citizens’ legitimate concerns by means of a two-fold approach combining deepening and enlargement. We say yes to enlargement, which has been a success and which must be the instrument for building what used to be referred to by the apt expression, the ‘Common European Home’. Mr Méndez de Vigo, it is not guests that we want in this home; it is people and countries to whom the home is going to belong, which means much more. They have the right not just to be here, but also to feel at home here and to help decide upon our acquis and collective management. Integration capacity cannot therefore be a further criterion to be added to the Copenhagen criteria, but rather a condition that we apply to ourselves as a Union, in order to ensure that enlargement is a success. Integration capacity clearly includes political capacity, institutional capacity and financial capacity, before any further enlargement can take place. The report says this and we are all repeating it. Nice is no use. That is stating the obvious. When it comes to policies, and unanimity, which means paralysis, as we can see, we are paying a heavy price for not having a Constitution. That is why in this report we are committed to the European Constitution and its essential content, as Mr Swoboda said. The container itself hardly matters, but what does matter are the main advances contained in that Constitution, because that means deepening and enlargement in real time. That is why it is essential that paragraph 9 of Mr Stubb’s report should remain in its entirety. We believe that the European Constitution will come to fruition by means of an appropriate agreement, without nibbling away at it and without dismembering it as a whole, but naturally that agreement must be ready for 2008 at the very latest, so that the citizens know it when they vote in 2009. Otherwise we would be making fools of ourselves and of course of the citizens as well. We must also, of course, strengthen the European neighbourhood policy; enlargement must be accompanied by the European neighbourhood policy and, in particular, it must be directed towards the crucial Euro-Mediterranean region. In that regard, the European Parliament’s role must be key before and after each process. The Socialist Group will therefore give your report its strong and decisive support, Mr Stubb."@en1

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