Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-07-10-Speech-4-146"

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"Mr President, President-in-Office of the Council, President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, France has decided that its Presidency will be synonymous with political commitment. Ladies and gentlemen, European integration is an eminently political affair. I am in no doubt that, if we are brave enough to make clear political choices, our citizens will rediscover a liking for Europe. I have every confidence that the new Presidency will encourage us in this and we have everything to gain in winning the trust of our citizens ahead of the 2009 European elections. We need political commitment to overcome the difficulties faced by European integration. The most entrenched of these is without doubt the Irish ‘no’ vote, discussed here this morning. We must engage our citizens in Europe. There are many reasons why they have doubts, including fears linked to globalisation, rising prices and changes in traditional family and social values. If we cannot convince everyone that major issues such as security, climate change, energy and migration can be negotiated effectively only at European level – and with regard to the world’s major regions, Europe must also be strong enough to convince the United States, India, China, and Brazil – we cannot envisage a peaceful future. The French Presidency will also need political commitment to convince its partners that the Lisbon Treaty will help us decide more effectively and democratically on all of these common issues. Those members of my group who belong to the European People’s Party would like all Member States who have not yet done so to ratify the Treaty during the French Presidency. After a period of reflection and with all due respect, we look forward, as we did with France and the Netherlands, to Ireland offering its 26 partners a solution to the impasse. We ask each Member State to refrain from any one-upmanship and to act responsibly. Our group would like to see an end to this institutional debate and we are confident that the French Presidency will work towards achieving this goal. Presidents, ladies and gentlemen, while we are trying to equip ourselves with a better decision-making tool, our problems are building up. This is consuming energy that could be better spent on job creation, defending our interests and promoting our social model and Europe in general. As I said, we will certainly need political commitment. We should also make sure that we have the commitment to address the priorities that the President-in-Office of the Council has just unveiled. We must act urgently to tackle the issues of climate change, energy, migration, food security and defence. On climate change and energy, the alternative is clear: either our Member States are convinced that they must progress and set an example ahead of the Copenhagen Summit, and if so, we must make clear decisions before December to ensure reciprocity from our international partners, or they have decided that, despite worsening climatic conditions and our energy dependence, there is no need to take urgent action. I hardly need tell you which way my political group leans. On migration, too, we want an end to this hypocrisy. While a number of countries around the world have already adopted an immigration policy with fairly satisfactory results, most of our countries have delayed these choices. It is time for a debate and a decision on the subject, which must be positive, humane and responsible. The draft European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, which will be debated in October, is a step in the right direction, and I congratulate the EU ministers on their response this week to the draft prepared by Brice Hortefeux. You have our support, Mr Hortefeux. Finally, I would like to mention two topics that are very close to my heart and are vital for the future and for our independence: food security and defence. I would like us to think of the most disadvantaged people, both around the world and in our own countries, for whom rising food prices are a real problem. I would like Europe and the French Presidency to make an effort to help them through these difficult times. In terms of defence, I would just like to ask one question: how can Europe be credible without defence worthy of the name? We need defence to guarantee peace in Europe and to help the world’s most disadvantaged people. Our group supports the commitment of the French Presidency to lead the way by making bold proposals to its partners in these two strategic areas."@en1

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