Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-045"

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"Mr President, Madam Federal Chancellor, Mr Barroso, I thank the Federal Chancellor and the President for what they have said. I shall begin by acknowledging the historical importance of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Whatever our view of the kind of Europe we want to see, I think we must all welcome some of the important achievements of Europe in the past five decades. We have contributed to the development of friendly relations between those Member States who until recently in historical terms were enemies. Europe has provided a forum where democratically elected governments can take decisions based on dialogue. We have seen the development of a single market in Europe, which has offered new economic opportunities for our peoples, and the enlargement of 2004 healed remaining divisions. I believe that these and other achievements are something all of us can welcome. However, it is the future we must now look to. The European Union today is viewed by many, not least in my own country, as a distant bureaucracy. They see us still as an over-regulated body that is encroaching on too many matters that should be the preserve still of nation states. People want to see cooperation in Europe, but they do not understand why politicians in this Parliament spend so much time on constitutional and institutional issues. People ask what we are going to do to combat global climate change, to fight the scourge of global poverty and to make our continent more competitive in the face of globalisation. They want us to deliver on the substance and not dwell too much on processes. There may well be a requirement for improving the institutional workings of the EU through treaty changes, but this does not necessarily mean a complex new Constitution. In the 21st century we need more flexibility and more decentralisation to enable our economies to win in international markets. We do not need more regulation: we need less. We do not necessarily need more majority voting to fight climate change or global poverty; we need more effective intergovernmental cooperation. Constitutions and institutions do not themselves generate prosperity, they do not make our economies more competitive, they do not reduce CO2 emissions and they do not feed hungry people in the developing world. I urge all governments and the Presidency now to get on with the job – they have started well – of delivering on policy substance."@en1

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