Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-11-25-Speech-3-013"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, here we are at last. The second topic is climate change. Everyone knows that the Council will be sitting in the middle of the Copenhagen Summit, which ought not only to result in political objectives, but also in quantifiable commitments. This is essential. This first European Council held under the Treaty of Lisbon must enable Europe to play its full role. I therefore hope that it will be able to use its influence and assert its positions with greater determination than in the past. The Heads of State or Government have chosen Herman Van Rompuy as the first President of the European Council and Catherine Ashton as High Representative. Thank you to Fredrik Reinfeldt, the last Prime Minister to hold the rotating Presidency of the European Council. Thank you for having brought about a consensus on the two figures who will bear the heavy burden of carrying out the new functions created by the Treaty of Lisbon. Today, in this Chamber, I would like to praise the initial statements of President Van Rompuy for whom, I quote, ‘the image of the Council will be shaped by its results’ and who advocates a step-by-step approach. It is through this method – what I would describe as the ‘Jean Monnet’ method, a way of acting effectively but without any political posturing – that the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) is finding its bearings. It is this method that has taken us from yesterday’s conflicts to today’s exchanges. It is this method that has taken us from long waits at the borders of the Schengen area, from fluctuating exchange rates to a stable euro. Indeed, thanks to this step-by-step integration of Europe, considerable progress has been made, and no one can deny that. I would like to warn you, ladies and gentlemen, against the facile criticisms that we have heard in recent days. I am thinking in particular about those who, just for the sake of making a witty remark, have discredited themselves through irresponsible statements. Like everyone, the members of the PPE Group also nurture dreams, but the difference between us and others is that we are striving to turn those dreams into a reality. We did it with the integration of Europe, we did it with reunification and we also did it with the Treaty of Lisbon which, despite its imperfections, will take us a little further in the right direction. It is this, and not merely sensational and short-lived statements, that Europeans expect, ladies and gentlemen. We are convinced that President Van Rompuy will get down to his task with the same determination and the same willpower that he showed in his own country, qualities crowned with success and recognised by everyone. President Van Rompuy has the full backing of the PPE Group, and I offer him our support in a task that will undoubtedly be very difficult. Indeed, I expect the Council to evolve. I expect it to evolve into a more transparent institution and to work even more closely with Parliament and the Commission. I expect ministers to stop proclaiming national victory against their partners when they have only just got back from Brussels and to stop blaming Europe for everything that goes wrong. Finally, I expect the Council to stop changing its position depending on who its President is. I, along with the PPE Group, expect all this from the Council’s first permanent presidency. Mrs Malmström, this does not apply to you since you have already been appointed commissioner by your country. You therefore no longer have any choice; you have to talk about Europe. On behalf of the PPE Group, I also congratulate Catherine Ashton, the new High Representative and Vice-President of the ‘Barroso I’ European Commission. We welcome her appointment and will listen closely to her answers to our questions at next January’s hearing of the commissioners. It is at the end of this process that she will be fully invested with her duties as Vice-President of the ‘Barroso II’ Commission. Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am glad that the time of asking questions about individuals is behind us and that we can finally, with complete peace of mind, get down to the fundamental issues. We know that two major topics will dominate the European Council in December. The first is the recovery in growth, which must not take place without a recovery in employment. In this respect, we are expecting concrete undertakings from the European Council."@en1

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