Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-061"

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"Mr President, I am told that, when Slovenia opened its borders recently, the crowd there compared notes on how much they had smuggled across during the Communist days, even to the extent of having a model confessional box there for anyone who confessed their sins, who was then rewarded with coffee and brandy, so I can understand why President Barroso rushed to be part of these celebrations! But, Prime Minister, you gave us, initially, a moving account of your country and indeed your own history. You talked with pride of Slovenia and you talked with some emotion of your experience in the prison cell. I hope that those are the emotions you will bring to the Presidency – the belief in human rights and the determination that Europe shall have that pride too. There are two areas that I want to raise with you as you do that. One is on our environment, because alongside human rights and our Lisbon Agenda goes a clean environment, a healthy environment and, indeed, a healthy people. That environment needs to move on from Bali, which was a great talking shop. We now need the action. We need real action, realistic action, and that must start next week with our climate change package. On the health field, we need legal certainty on cross-border health. There is a great new opportunity for Europe’s citizens – its patients – if we get this right. We waited and had this delayed. That must wait no longer. We must make sure, please, that it now comes forward. If we do not, it is not an option to do nothing. The alternative is that the lawyers go on making policy for us. Thirdly, on that, I ask you to pay particular attention to mental health. If there is any criticism of Slovenia I have, it is the slowness with which it has enacted its mental health laws. Now you have an opportunity to lead on mental health following the Green Paper and I hope you will take that up. You are a small country, a proud country, and the small countries of Europe are usually the best Presidents of the European Union. I wish you success in that. I have confidence that Slovenia, under your leadership, will meet that pride in success and achievement by the time you finish in six months’ time."@en1

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