Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-073"
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". Madam President, honourable Members, I feel that this has been an interesting debate. I had prepared one or two answers to specific questions, but given that the honourable Members who asked them are not here, I might leave those answers for another time. I should like, however, to make a general comment on the fundamental issue at stake here, namely the substance and the process. We need both. We need to resolve the major problems facing us in Europe and the problems of globalisation, yet we also need to have the best processes and institutions. I do not agree with those who seek to focus the debate on one of these aspects. If we want to resolve problems and if we want to be able to address the major challenges, we need more efficient, more democratic and more coherent institutions We also need to resolve the constitutional issue. Whether or not we refer to the Treaty as ‘constitutional’, we need to resolve the question and this is my appeal to you today, honourable Members, even those who do not have the same enthusiasm as others for the constitutional concept. I know that you share the desire to resolve problems pragmatically. I trust you will make your contribution and help all EU governments to find a solution as regards both processes and the institutions, because if we want results, we need these institutions. As regards how to involve civil society and the general public in the debate on the institutional issue, I should also like to say that we in the Commission have been active. Prior to adoption of the Berlin Declaration, I personally had meetings with Commission Vice-President Mrs Wallström and leaders of Parliament, as well as representatives of civil society. I welcome the proposal that Chancellor Merkel put forward today for Parliament to arrange a hearing of civil society in May. The Commission would like to support this initiative if Parliament carries out the proposal. We are ready, in conjunction with Parliament, to launch the debate on these issues, whilst ensuring that there is room for negotiation between governments, and for this reason I wish to support Chancellor Merkel’s proposal. By way of conclusion, I shall now speak in French, as I respond to Mr Poignant’s very important observation. I would like to thank him for having, with some humour, raised a very important point and for showing that people can hold different positions where policy and ideology are concerned, while sharing in the same European spirit. Therein lies a lesson for all of us. I believe that that exactly sums up our European project which, to a large degree, transcends our political and ideological differences. One may tend towards the Left, or be more inclined towards the Right or Centre, but what we need is a coalition of the European spirit. That is a lesson for all of us, and I want to thank you, Mr Poignant, for it, just as I also thank those who, as members of different political families, share this spirit – to be sure, with nuances – for it is only by that spirit, which I perceived in Berlin, that we can answer the great expectations that Europe has of us. Turning to the subject of solidarity, I would like to say – in particular to certain Members of your House belonging to political groups with a rather more sceptical view of integration – that it must not be forgotten that solidarity is a two-way street and that you should not forget that the day will probably come when your own country will be in need of solidarity from others, expressed in practical terms. We must all, then, manifest the spirit of solidarity and understand that it is only in that spirit that we can achieve an institutional settlement and, above all, respond to the great challenges that Europe has to face."@en1
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