Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-07-02-Speech-3-279"

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"Mr President, the European Court of Justice is rightly seen as the guardian of Community law, but also, and especially, as safeguarding and furthering the four traditional fundamental freedoms – of goods, persons, services and capital – all of which are relevant to the matter under discussion. It was not all that long ago that the European Court of Justice had to weigh in the balance the fundamental freedoms on the one hand and, on the other, the protests by people for whom the effects of the transit routes through Austria have all become too much. They sat down in the road and said, ‘it can not go on like this’. Like many of those who have already spoken here today, the defenders of European freedoms talked up the supreme importance of their position. The Court of Justice saw these things differently, adducing the remarkable argument that the freedoms, though important, are not everything. Of equal value to them, it said, were the basic rights of citizens, in this specific case the freedom to express opinions and to demonstrate, and – as can be read in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which we hope is shortly to be given added weight as Part II of the European Constitution – so was the requirement that the environment be protected in general and in what are termed vulnerable regions in particular. This obligation is to be protected, being of equal importance to European freedoms and on a level with them. It is unfortunate that Parliament, at first reading stage, did not see it as really important that the right to free transport should be balanced against the rights of people and of the environment on transit routes. Nearly all the Members from the fourteen Member States that are not affected insisted on their rights, aiming to do away with the transit arrangement, and the law of the jungle prevailed. I hope, indeed I ask, that at least some of you will, when you vote tomorrow, also listen to the other side and consider their rights too. To these Members, we Austrians have made an offer in the form of Amendments Nos 18 and 19, to which reference has already been made, in the hope that they will vote for them."@en1

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