Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-12-13-Speech-3-370"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, thank you for this excellent debate and the comments and counsel the Presidency has received during the discussions. In my opening speech I did not go any deeper into the enlargement debate, nor will I now, because we discussed this in the House very thoroughly this morning. It is one of the European Council’s main concerns, but we debated the details in our sitting earlier today. In several speeches, questions about a social Europe arose. Let me remind you, however, that at the informal summit at Lahti there was also a social summit, and as President Barroso mentioned, this autumn a decision on the Globalisation Adjustment Fund was reached. We in Finland are in the habit of reminding ourselves that you first have to create prosperity for it to be shared, and that is why there was so much attention paid to innovation and competitiveness policy during the Finnish presidential term. Regarding immigration, the Union is specifically aiming at a comprehensive debate on immigration issues, and this the European Council intends to confirm in its discussions at the weekend. It is comprehensive in the sense that it will not be exclusively about border control or just about illegal immigration. It will also be a tremendous opportunity to discuss legal immigration. In the summer and this autumn we organised two conferences with our African partners on this, so that we might examine the root causes of illegal immigration in particular and get to grips with them over the long term. It is well worth endorsing the work of Frontex, but that is just a small slice of the whole issue of immigration policy. As for Galileo, there is no decision on its location in sight in the European Council, and there are no plans to discuss it. I would remind members from the new Member States that we sometimes need painstaking effort to establish EU agencies. Finland has been a Member State since 1995, and with the adoption today of the Chemicals Regulation by the European Parliament, Finland now is to have its first European Union agency, after more than 10 years of membership. I would like to thank Parliament for that. Finally, I would like to return to the debate on the Constitutional Treaty. We have to remember that the bilateral consultations engaged in by the Finnish Presidency are due to the conclusions of the June European Council, which gave Germany the task of reporting on the situation regarding the Constitution for the European Council next spring. The report, however, needs to be based on very intensive consultations with the Member States. We have now got through the first round of consultations. It was done in a spirit of trust, which is why very little information on it was or is being made public, because the intention is for the German Presidency to be able to continue the work, based on our analysis, and then produce a report for the European Council. As has appeared evident from this debate, everyone seems to have an idea about what others think. We all seem to know very well what people think in different countries. Our round of consultations was an attempt to discuss directly and specifically with governments how they see the situation, and to look for possible ways to proceed. It is still not the time for a decision, however, and not even the time for negotiations. This has simply been an opportunity to hear people’s opinions, and there are only very tentative conclusions to be drawn. If the situation had to be described in one word, as one of the Members of Parliament suggested, I would describe it using the word ‘reform’. We have broad consensus on the need for reform, and now we are deliberating on how we can proceed and what sort of reform there should be. Mr President, as this is my last appearance in plenary, apart from question time which follows soon, I would like to thank the European Parliament personally and on behalf of the Presidency for its very diverse, even kaleidoscopic, but always excellent cooperation."@en1
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