Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-157"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to pick up on a few practical points from this evening’s debate. First of all I would pay tribute to the French Minister for having been bold enough to make some highly important assertions in this House. I fully endorse everything the French Minister said. I agree with absolutely everything. I shall not repeat any of his words because tomorrow’s press will already be full enough of what he has stated here, but I must say that the position outlined by the Presidency of the European Union is a very strong and very precise one. What I wanted to say is that I believe the European Union has made a step-change: we can say whatever we like in this auditorium but we are not the makers of EU foreign policy and do not have powers to intervene in it; only the European Council can do that. The European Council – as far as I can judge from my brief experience in this House – has demonstrated what Europe is making: a step-change. Today’s European Council has shown that the European Union really does exist, that even though the Lisbon Treaty is not yet in force, the EU is capable of addressing itself to extremely important issues. I should also like to express great appreciation for what has been done by the French Presidency, by President Sarkozy, as well as by Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Berlusconi, in this crisis. I believe that the united response passes over the comments made by the British Prime Minister, who may have duly fallen into line today, but whose earlier statements to the press were far from welcome. I believe, and I am concluding, that the step-change is this: the European Union exists! Let us proceed cautiously with accessions to NATO and the EU. Let us see how things stand. The French Minister is quite right."@en1

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