Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-028"

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"Chancellor, I congratulate you on your achievements – text and consensus. Chancellor, you set us an example: we need more women at the highest levels in politics. Indeed, in current circumstances, perhaps only a woman could have secured agreement. However, I cannot congratulate you on the procedure you chose: a text drafted in the catacombs of the Bundeskanzleramt and signed by the Presidents of the three main institutions should not have the temerity to open with the words ‘We, the citizens of the European Union’. For it is the citizens of the European Union who need to be re-engaged in the task of building Europe. President Barroso was right when he said that the institutions must respect diversity, but the Member States must promote unity. The impressive festivities in Berlin were replicated in too few other European capitals. Until all your colleagues in the European Council actively argue the case for Europe, day in and day out, no solid foundation will exist. Nor does it help, Chancellor, for the European People’s Party, your party, to claim all the credit for building this Union. The drafters of this vainglorious EPP declaration rightly praise Monnet, De Gasperi and Kohl, but their memory is selective at best. Thatcher, Chirac, Berlusconi: they were all EPP leaders too, but you seem to have overlooked their contributions. The Union is not the project of one political party. It belongs to us all. We hope, Chancellor, that the Berlin Declaration will herald a new departure. We look to the intergovernmental conference you have secured to put in place the institutional building blocks of the Union’s future. The new Europe, the Europe Berlin envisages, should be one where the Union helps its citizens to grasp the opportunities of globalisation and shows them solidarity in facing new global challenges; one where democracy has the upper hand, and our values have the final word. Your celebration of the Union’s success was both timely and appropriate. It is largely to the European Union that we owe the security, prosperity and opportunity our citizens enjoy. As we sat in Berlin’s Historisches Museum on Sunday morning, two things struck me. The first was your inspired move to engage the European Youth Orchestra for the occasion; it is first class and it deserves better financial support. The second was that of the 31 people on the platform – Heads of State and government, presidents of the institutions et al – you were the only woman. It brought to mind a verse by the poet Robert Burns: ‘While Europe’s eye is fixed on mighty things The fate of empires and the fall of kings; While quacks of State must each produce his plan And even children lisp the Rights of Man; Amidst this mighty fuss just let me mention The Rights of Woman merit some attention.’"@en1

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