Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-041"

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"Mr President, Madam President of the Council, today finds me feeling rather unsure of myself, for, despite having sat in this House for twelve years, I have no experience of singing the praises of Council Presidencies, yet your work obliges me to do so. The last great Europeans to speak in this House – Mitterrand and the post-Presidency Juncker – tended, in their Europeanism, to occupy the terrain between melancholia and despair. I have a great deal of respect for the way you have taken on the challenge of Europe, and have done so even though the incredible expectations people had of your presidency might well have weighed down on you from the outset. What the Berlin Declaration lacks is 26 signatures, the signatures of 26 Heads of State or Government attached to a birthday declaration, a declaration full of the patently obvious – but yours is there. You are the first to emerge from the mechanism in which Council members obstruct one another, menace one another, trip each other up and lay traps for one another and make that commitment, and you deserve all respect for that. I would have liked to have heard – along with the references to the EU’s successes – more said about the disappointment of people’s expectations and the crisis of confidence in the Union. I congratulate you, and want to express my respect for you, on having got the constitutional project out of the pack ice; that showed leadership, that was a freestyle performance on thin ice. There are just two more things I would ask you to consider. Firstly, although the goal you have set is the only one that Europe can now strive for, the question arises as to whether the method is the right one, whether it might rather be the case that the constitutional crisis might be overcome by something extra, by a stronger and more persuasive Europe, with perhaps this or that additional function, or more convincingly democratic. Is your goal achievable using a method that harks back to the days of mounted couriers riding from one state chancellery to another, always bringing you the same message – the age-old claims and desires of the national governments. Secondly, there is the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and this is where I entreat you, Madam President-in-Office of the Council, for, if the Charter of Fundamental Rights is detached from this constitutional treaty, you will split the great movement in favour of the Constitution, and that will bring a result that many of us who have fought for the Constitution will regard as unacceptable, for fundamental rights are central to this European project."@en1

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