Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-063"

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"The Berlin Declaration was signed at a very important moment for the European Union. The signing of the Treaties of Rome 50 years ago was the first step in the implementation of an ambitious idea. The presence of twenty-seven states in Berlin reflected the impact of this idea. When the Union was founded in the ruins of post-war Europe, the founding declaration was signed by just six states. Now, half a century on, it is a joy that Europe is living in peace. It has almost half a billion inhabitants. It covers a large part of the continent and is a greater force in the world than ever. The results of integration are impressive: a unified market, a common currency in thirteen states and the free movement of people, goods and capital. The European Union has taken on commitments to protect the environment and to work towards sustainable development. It is an active and high-profile player in the international arena, bringing stability and prosperity to neighbouring countries. The Berlin Declaration is an important symbol for Europe. However, something is still lacking, despite the clear sense of achievement. We might have wished for the European Union to have a Constitution on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Treaties. We still face a number of challenges: global economic competition, new challenges in the fields of social policy, environmental protection, energy and security. Europe’s citizens want a more effective and stronger Union, operating on the basis of transparent rules. We should remove the barriers facing citizens, particularly in the new Member States, in relation to the free movement of people and services. We have to finish enlarging the Schengen and the euro zones. We need to implement a common energy policy. Europe needs economic growth, new jobs and better social security. In this context, the point in the Declaration which states that the institutional foundations of Europe have to be agreed by 2009 is of great importance. It should motivate all Member States to carry out the necessary institutional reforms. Chancellor Angela Merkel deserves praise for her significant contribution to our common success. Today the European Union has a female face. The Union is a woman."@en1

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