Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-09-24-Speech-3-269"

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"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I hope that Mr Lunardi will have time to glance at the Minutes of this sitting, for he will find some useful recommendations for his work in the Council Presidency, first and foremost relating to the danger – which has already been pointed out by Mrs Frassoni and which I, too, fear – that, on 1 October, the adoption of this list of 18 projects compiled by the Van Miert Group will be rushed through more in the style of a ratification. Clearly, to adopt the list without any strategic assessment of the environmental impact, profitability or practical safety of any of the 18 projects would be merely to rubber stamp it. The Commission is being called upon to rubber stamp the 18 projects submitted by the governments. I would like the Commission to know that, when Parliament is asked to give its opinion, it will refuse just to give its seal of approval or ratify them, not least because some of the proposals and demands of the Member States are nothing more than whims. One example, in particular, which we have discussed at length with Commissioner Van Miert, is the project to build a bridge over the Straits of Messina. There is clear, solid opposition to this bridge from all the local communities concerned. Its profitability is questionable, there are deep concerns as regards safety and, most importantly, the environmental impact would be terrible if we were to build a pylon taller than the Empire State Building on the outskirts of the city of Messina. In response to our objections and to the request for clarification which we put to Mr Van Miert, to find out what the exceptional grounds were for selecting this project, it was explained that the Italian Government had put forward strong arguments for it, to the effect that this bridge would save 5.5 million Sicilians from isolation. Madam President, as a Sicilian, I can tell you that this is not true. The isolation of the Sicilians is caused by the fact that getting from Palermo to Messina involves a five-hour train journey, not the fact that it is 20 minutes by ferry from Messina to Reggio Calabria. We have had to sideline another project – a genuinely key project – corridor 8, which would have made it possible to link southern Europe to the Balkan countries and would, moreover, have helped to confirm our particular consideration for the economic future of the Balkans, in line with the intentions of the Italian Presidency. With regard to all these considerations, I hope that Parliament will have the opportunity to return to the subject and to discuss it with representatives of the Commission and the Council here in flesh and blood."@en1

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