Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-014"

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"Mr President, I should like to address some remarks to Prime Minister Janša. President-in-Office, my group comes to you with one simple message: ‘Europe expects’. It expects 2008 to be a year of progress. We expect that progress to start now. And we expect your Presidency to rise to the challenge. But in the mean time, as you say in Slovenia, ‘pray for a good harvest, but keep on hoeing’. I have no doubts you will. Was it not a feisty Slovene who, raising his fist against a mighty empire, first declared: ‘All roads do not lead to Rome!’? Well, neither do they lead to Paris, and this is not the start of the French Presidency. It is an historic first for the countries which entered our Union in 2004. President-in-Office, your country may be small in size but we know that it is mighty in spirit, and we know too that Europe’s Davids often make better presidencies than its Goliaths. True to form, your Presidency’s programme combines quiet ambition and a consensual style, which have the potential to unite our continent. Such unity will be vital to the early ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and to mustering support for an interinstitutional agreement on how to govern Europe under that new Treaty. On interinstitutional cooperation, we would welcome much dialogue with you and a greater presence of your Government in this Chamber. We regret that your seat was empty yesterday when we heard from the first guest in our Year of Intercultural Dialogue. Your programme speaks of the importance of internal dynamism – and that, Mr Schulz, is the way to create jobs and to maintain jobs in this continent: internal dynamism. We rely on you, President-in-Office, to push forward the single market in energy, in telecoms, in health-care services. The European Union has a hard enough time convincing its citizens that it adds value to their daily lives, so, in a clear-cut case for faster medical care, for lower bills, for greater consumer choice, we would be mad to push proposals for patients’ rights off the table just because they are controversial. In other areas, you will have to flex your muscles a great deal more – particularly with your presidential counterparts who have a vested interest in promoting nuclear energy as the panacea of climate change. Solidarity and burden-sharing are the key to success in cutting emissions and meeting renewable energy targets. In 2008, our Union must show, as President Barroso said, that it can turn fine words about combating climate change into action. Progress in the Western Balkans is rightly one of your priorities and your experience and understanding of the area will be a bonus to our Union. Nonetheless, I suspect that maintaining, as you do, that the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is worse than that in Kosovo does not reflect majority opinion in the Union. Nor am I sure it is a good way to motivate the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. If it is designed to appease Serbia, it will not work. Sweetening the pill of Kosovo’s independence with a Stabilisation and Association Agreement may be a way forward. But, while Mr Đelić readies his pen to come to Brussels, my group reiterates – in the strongest possible terms – that there can be no Stabilisation and Association Agreement without Serbia’s full cooperation with the ICTY. Serge Brammertz, the new Chief Prosecutor, has yet to see fresh evidence of cooperation. None of us, President-in-Office, wish to see Serbia remain on Europe’s sidelines, and your Presidency’s courteous and constructive attitude may well bring it in from the cold and deliver Ratko Mladić."@en1

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