Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-058"

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". Mr President, honourable Members, I would like, very briefly, to sum up this debate, which is one for which I am very grateful. What has become clear here today – and I am sure that this reflects opinion in all of your groups – is that the common mind and will of the overwhelming majority in your House is that this Europe of ours be moved forward, and, moreover with a dose of optimism thrown in, of the kind referred to by the chairman of the Socialist Group, Mr Schulz, whom I, too – on the assumption that I, in my capacity as President-in-Office of the Council, am allowed to do so – want to praise today, for that the situation is historic, and a very serious one, is a point on which I agree entirely with all those who have made it today. There are still those sceptics who hesitate and doubt whether we really need a timetable, and whether we really need to present the citizens with a renewed basis in 2009, as we, in the Berlin Declaration, said that we would. To these sceptics, we should say that we, as the German Presidency, like Parliament and the Commission, are already aware that what is at stake here is what we once called the ‘Europe of projects’, in other words, that very definite steps forward need to be taken, of the kind that are actually visible to people. This is not just about our now laying down this or that voting procedure and settling institutional issues, but also, at the same time, about showing people that we are accomplishing something, something that is of great significance in terms of the life of every individual. The more we manage to get done in these six months, in which we do of course have other important matters to address, the easier it will then be to make progress with these other issues. In any case, our efforts over the coming three months will be equally devoted to both these things, and I would like to say a very warm thank-you to your House for giving its attention to many of these practical matters. Yesterday, for example, you managed to unlock resources for the protection of the environment, thus making it possible for projects to get started. We have also had things to say about agriculture. It is in areas such as these that people ask just what Europe is now achieving, and so succeeding in this now is a positive thing. The question has also been asked in your House as to how the Berlin Declaration came into being. I believe it was Winston Churchill who said, on the subject of the Treaties of Rome, that ‘Never has something as important as the Treaties of Rome come to pass in back rooms such as these without anyone noticing anything’. We stand no chance of repeating that sort of performance in an age such as our own in which the media are everywhere, but I do believe that we must, not least over the coming months, find the right mix between participation and the whole business of getting things done, and the public square is not always the best place for doing that. It was not, then, the case that the President had been obliged to have secret consultations with me on the Berlin Declaration, but the groups in your House were of course involved in one way or another, and that is how we tried to reflect on your proposals, in exactly the same way as we did with the Commission and the 27 Member States. Everyone knows, though, that one of the things about democracy is that not everyone finds their views reflected in what comes out of the end; there are times when these things can be done only in parallel, and these things cannot all be reported on at the same time, but I do nevertheless believe that the public should be let in on what is now at stake, and that is why I have a request to make of your House. Mr President, I would very much like to make a suggestion to your House, for the Council is not, as an institution, suited to making a particularly good job of celebrating public participation. Since Parliament has committees, it might perhaps be possible to arrange – perhaps in May – a hearing of civil society, to which the Council would also send a representative, at which we might consider what is being said within civil society about people’s expectations of this process of producing a renewed common basis, so that we could then, by means of a debate before the next Council, involve, to some degree, the European public in our deliberations. I believe, then, that we, over the coming three months too, will be seeing a lot of each other. The first three months were fun; why, then, should the second half not be enjoyable too? Thank you very much."@en1

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