Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-03-10-Speech-3-185"

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"Mr President, I regret having to begin my speech with words of criticism. The fact that the President and the Presidency have left the Chamber does not bode well for this project. Mr Roche was present earlier while we had a very successful and positive discussion of the issue of enlargement, but now we are dealing with the technicalities of making enlargement possible, of giving it substance and life, the Presidency is not there. For such neglect we must reproach the Irish presidency, which has otherwise been so painstaking. Turning to the matter in hand, let me point out – as a number of speakers have already done – that we need a functioning infrastructure if the European Union, and the internal market in particular, are to function. Nothing will work without adequate rail, road and water links. The enlargement of the EU makes it a matter of urgent necessity that the network should be extended; to put it more precisely, what this means is establishing links or rather restoring those that Europe had, in some instances, 70 years ago, but most of which were shut down during the 70 years in which parts of Eastern Europe were under Communist rule. We now have to expend a great deal of effort on closing these gaps. I refer in particular to a number of links running from Austria, my home country, in relation to which I have proposed a number of minor additions, and will take this opportunity to contradict my colleague Mr Jarzembowski. The majority was not fortuitous; it was deliberate and very determined, for the sake of the matter in hand, to close loopholes; we were concerned with, among other things, particularly the rail link between Graz and Spielfeld, which provides a functioning rail link with the new Member State of Slovenia, with the line from Linz to Prague and with what is known as Summerau line. It also mattered to us that the Czech Republic should be connected via a proper and functioning rail link. I would rejoice if, despite the resistance with which this meets, not least from my own country, we could also succeed in incorporating what is called the Southern Railway and the Semmering link into this network. What the Vice-President stated earlier strikes me as being extremely important in the context of our present discussion and the further progress that we hope we can expect. It is not lines on a map that we need; they have to become reality. It is for that reason that we have to make it our concern that a start really is made on these projects, that they are brought to completion, and that funding should be provided for them. If we succeed in this, it can be expected to have a positive effect on employment. We would thereby be implementing some of what we constantly demand in connection with Lisbon."@en1

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