Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-07-10-Speech-4-170"

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"Mr President, you said ‘France cannot pass judgment on the Irish “no”’. I agree. The Irish ‘no’ must be respected. The Irish people are fully within their rights to vote as they have done. However, all the other countries in Europe also have the right to proceed along the road to a more democratic, more transparent Europe that is more capable of taking action. The Treaty of Lisbon is a step in this direction. Therefore I welcome the fact that ratification is being continued. However, I also think – and here I do not share your view, I disagree – that it would be good to speak openly about the fact that a multi-speed Europe already exists. Think of the euro, the Schengen Agreement, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and many other areas. The sensitivities and wishes of the Member States of the EU are reflected in their choice of different speeds for things that they undertake together. A multi-speed Europe makes it possible for countries that want to do more together to do so, for it is important that we maintain the voluntary principle in Europe. It is important that the countries who want to do something together do so voluntarily and that all countries have the option of joining in at any time. No country should be forced into a greater degree of solidarity. A multi-speed Europe also makes it easier to continue accession negotiations. I believe it is wrong for Croatia and Turkey to be punished because the majority of Irish people voted no. Mr President-in-Office, you are quite rightly proud that your country is the home of human rights. Human rights are timeless; they are universal. The Olympic Games are a sporting event, not a political event. Therefore, I believe it is wrong for you to want to go to China for the opening ceremony, and I am glad that the President of the European Parliament, Mr Pöttering, will not be going to China. Mr President-in-Office, let me say in closing that you found on your seat a greeting from many of my female fellow Members – a rose and a letter. The letter asks you to play your part in getting more women to the top of the European Union. Women are pinning their hopes on you as a ‘ladies’ man’. Please allow me to add one more request: as a democratically elected representative, I hope that you will support us in ensuring that this European Parliament is able to take an independent decision about where it is based."@en1

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