Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-097"

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". Mr President, the Rocard report contains many positive points. In these times of political correctness, to talk about an Arab evil openly, for example, shows a certain degree of courage. The report is right to single out a number of painful areas. There is a need for more democracy, more free market economy, respect for human rights, and equal treatment for women, while non-Muslims must be able to practise their religion freely. The concept of reciprocity is very much applicable here, and it is useful to make a special mention of this in the report. The European Union can, and indeed must, play a part in promoting these principles within the Arab world. Whether this will bear fruit is a different matter, but we should at least try. The report stipulates – and I quote – that the westernisation of the Arab societies is not the only way of bringing about the necessary reforms. I can go along with that, but I should like to stress that the Arabisation or Islamisation of Europe should not be an option either. One consequence of the riots resulting from the Danish cartoons is that we have had to conclude that a number of essential freedoms, such as the right to the free expression of opinion, have also come under pressure in Europe. The European Union’s reaction to this was rather – not to say very – feeble. I should therefore like to say in all tranquillity and serenity that our freedoms and the right to remain ourselves in Europe and in all European Member States should remain intact."@en1

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