Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-07-10-Speech-4-179"

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"Mr President, President-in-Office of the Council, you wanted to place your Presidency under the aegis of the Europe that protects, and I think that there is indeed a very high expectation among European citizens. However, this is why there is a contradiction here – and you understood the key message from the Socialist Group in the European Parliament – with the fact that the social dimension of European integration has not been given the status of one of the four main priorities of your Presidency. Indeed, as we have seen in recent referendums, people are questioned regarding the institutions and the treaties, but in fact they respond on the basis of the progress of European integration, and finally on Europe’s policies. I think that the imbalance that has been created in recent years between the progress of economic integration – which has been pursued and this is a good thing – and the stagnation of the social dimension, is also behind this disenchantment among the people of the Union, this disaffection towards the European institutions. This is why the problem is not saying that Europe should get involved with all social matters, but rather that as soon as there is a single market, including a single employment market, there need to be common rules for combating disparities, which otherwise lead to social dumping, and to ensure that convergence elements are focused upwards, towards the best, rather than dragging social situations downwards. The Commission has just published a social agenda, but if the Council does not commit to some concrete issues – you talked about a concrete Europe – to strengthen the powers of the European works committees, to protect temporary workers, to improve the Directive on the posting of workers so that – and this needs to be added – there is a Directive on the protection of public services and social services in the general interest, then there will not be a response to this need for protection. One of your priorities is the Europe of immigration, but the Europe of immigration cannot be reduced to a Europe of expulsions. This is why we need to add to this a pact for integration, which we talked about with Mr Hortefeux – and a pact for development. You have just come from the G8; Europe and some of the Member States, including France, were accused of not fulfilling their commitments in terms of public aid for development. Ensure that during your Presidency this commitment of moving towards 0.7% of GDP is fulfilled, which will be more effective than the disgraceful ‘return directive’ in contributing towards managing international immigration more effectively."@en1

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