Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-12-17-Speech-1-096"

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"Mr President, Laeken has gone better than Nice did last year, and for that the Belgian Presidency is to be thanked, yet the positive outcome has to do with another matter on which Laeken was to give a decision. Nothing had been decided by last weekend on the central topic of "The future of the Union"; quite rightly, only questions had been asked about it. Even a cursory analysis of the questions, though, shows that some of them are not questions at all, such as the rhetorical question as to whether it would contribute to greater transparency if the sessions of the Council – at any rate in its legislative capacity – were to be in public. Now, it goes without saying that legislative Council sessions must be thrown open, but why did something so obvious not become legally binding at Maastricht or Amsterdam or, at the latest, at Nice? Another question in the catalogue of Laeken declarations makes me similarly pensive. We have to consider whether the Charter of Fundamental Rights should be incorporated into the Basic Treaty and whether the European Community should accede to the European Convention on Human Rights. Does this mean that the results of the last Convention are really nothing more than an option? I hope not. I take an even more critical view of questions in the Declaration which were not even put at Laeken. The question arises for me, as an elected representative from a medium-sized state, how the Convention will ensure that the big states will not dominate in the future. There has, unfortunately, been a very definite reason for these questions to be asked in recent weeks, and let nobody believe that there will be any less hankering after top-down management in a future Europe of nineteen small and medium-sized States and a small group of large and very large ones. One last point in the Laeken Declaration prompts me to vehement criticism here and now. The less than impressive, indeed uncaring, way in which the Council's General Secretariat handled the Convention on Fundamental Rights last time gives little hope for anything good from the Constitutional Convention. I can only hope that the Council's bureaucracy will prove us wrong by providing us with a quite outstanding service."@en1

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