Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-01-17-Speech-3-293"

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"Mrs De Palacio, I am sure that you are familiar with part of your communication which highlights a disturbing disparity between the different Member States in the quality and safety of roads and number of victims claimed. Unfortunately, this disparity closely mirrors the difference in the quality and speed of economic growth of the Member States of the European Union: the safest country is Sweden and the least safe countries are Greece and Portugal. What does this mean? I will attempt to answer this question as positively as possible: it means we cannot invest in safety without investing in Community action. I feel that Parliament, with a few legitimate exceptions, is calling for greater courage from the Commission, and I would therefore like to thank the honourable Member for her report, which makes the Commission's communication totally clear and more effective. More courage – to get straight to the point – means two things: firstly an undertaking to specify limits and rules in our prevention policy or – without wishing to offend Mr Jarzembowski – any control will be useless. If we are going to control the speed at which people drive, it does make quite a difference whether the limit we set is 100 or 200 kilometres per hour. The same applies to drinking. We feel that the Commission should present a directive setting the maximum blood alcohol limit at 0.5 parts per thousand for all the Member States. I say this as a citizen of a country which has established a higher limit precisely in order to forestall any accusation of self-interest in our argument. The principle of subsidiarity is all very well – although I feel that it would be grossly inappropriate to take away the licences of all drunk drivers – but the problem is working out at what point a driver is to be considered drunk according to our highway code. Commissioner, I feel that employing this sort of courage is the simplest and most effective, but also the only way of achieving the ambitious objective we have set ourselves of reducing the number of victims claimed by the roads of the European Union by 40% over the next few years."@en1

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