Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-050"

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"President-in-Office, you have come before us with modesty. You have even mentioned potential errors, and admitted to possible naivety. Within the context of the Troika, I suggest you pass on this sense of humility to the French President, who will succeed you. I have just one message for you: teach Europe some of the best lessons from your history. You are Celts – me too! You have been dominated by Bavaria, coveted by the Republic of Venice, incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, occupied by Napoleon – my apologies for that one – divided up between Germany, Italy and Hungary and integrated into the Yugoslav Federation, and you have been independent since your referendum in 1990. What a history! Who is better placed than you to talk about intercultural dialogue? Who has greater credibility than you to do so? So make it a higher priority. You have placed it fourth; I suggest you move it up a rung or two! Having said that, please do not restrict intercultural dialogue to interreligious dialogue. Also think about the contribution to Europe made by those who believe that religion and politics should not be mixed, because history has shown that when one meddles with the other, it always leads to problems. To conclude, if you would permit me, in the spirit of what I have just said, I would like to read a short passage from your national anthem to our fellow Members, because it is beautiful! ‘God’s blessing on all nations, Who long and work for that bright day, When o’er earth’s habitation no war, no strife shall hold its sway; Who long to see, that all men free no more shall foes but neighbours be’. That is the spirit of your Presidency, and that is the spirit of Europe. I am French, and I am not going to give up the Marseillaise, but for six months I am very happy to be Slovenian!"@en1

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