Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-026"

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"I have been asked to make a brief statement on Estonia, and have been informed that the Group chairmen wish to do likewise once I have finished. That does indeed seem to be so. The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 gave Europe the foundation on which it would be possible to build partnership in peace and freedom between nations that had formerly been at enmity with one another and, when our continent, formerly divided, had grown together, the European Union became the guarantor of peace, freedom and prosperity throughout Europe. We take pride in being able, today, to celebrate Schuman Day together with 27 Member States of the European Union, but 9 May is, for other reasons, a controversial date, as we have seen most recently in the dispute concerning the Soviet soldiers’ memorial in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and it is for that reason that we call to mind our resolution of 12 May 2005, in which this House remarked upon the fact that there were some nations for whom the end of the Second World War meant the dawn of another tyranny, that of the Soviet Union. We remind ourselves that controversies on matters of history must never be an occasion for violence, and we firmly condemn affray and looting. The current President of the Republic of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who was formerly a Member of this House, said the right thing in response to the events outside the Estonian embassy in Moscow, and this was what he had to say about them: ‘In Europe, it is not customary to demand the resignation of the democratically elected government of a neighbouring country; in Europe, it is unthinkable that the Convention of Vienna on the protection of diplomatic missions be disregarded’. We call to mind our resolution of 8 June 2005 on the protection of minorities and against discrimination against them, in which we declared that national minorities enrich Europe. The European Union is founded upon values, the protection of which is our common task. Putting a Member State of the European Union under pressure constitutes a challenge to all of us, and Estonia can count on our solidarity."@en1

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