Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-01-26-Speech-3-014"

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"We must not only work on our immediate priorities, but also map out a vision for the future. The proposal for the strategic objectives adopted by the Commission this morning is based on three fundamental objectives: prosperity, solidarity, security. Each of these objectives also has a link with the world around us. That is why a stronger voice in the world is a necessary corollary. But there are other security concerns which affect our citizens’ daily lives. Natural disasters, environmental or health crises, transport and energy threats have a direct impact on citizens’ security and wellbeing. The Union has a role to play both in reducing risks and in offering a rapid response. The action in the wake of the tsunami disaster was just the latest example of what the Union can offer. Finally, we must admit that Europe cannot achieve these objectives in isolation. Since the Union is a global partner, our number one priority – prosperity – is intimately linked to relations with our partners. The solidarity we seek for our citizens cannot stop at the borders of the Union. It is an illusion to believe that Europe can be an island of peace with no other choice than either exporting stability or importing instability. The borderline between our internal and external policies is gradually vanishing. During the next five years there is one external priority for which we should assume a particular responsibility. I refer to the coming accession negotiations and the need to work for a stable and prosperous neighbourhood as an essential instrument for our security policy and for the reaffirmation of our democratic values. More broadly, our partnership should also entail a message of renewal for our action in the rest of the world around us. Europe should speak with a stronger, single voice in order to promote effective multilateralism and a stronger role for the United Nations. The relations with our key partners should be reinvigorated. A new strategy for Africa is indispensable if we want to prevent parts of this continent that is so close to us from declining any further. We should also inject fresh blood into our transatlantic relationship, looking forward to our common interests for the future. I have presented the general outline of the strategic objectives we propose to share with you in the framework of the partnership for European renewal that should guide our action for the next five years. However, setting objectives is not enough: we can only turn our ambitions into reality if the Union has the necessary means to do so – I am referring to the financial perspectives for the period from 2007 to 2013. I am not telling you anything new when I say that last year’s Commission proposals were no surprise – they are the counterpart of our ambitions. All the Commission is asking is to endow the Union with the financial translation of the commitments made at various European summits over the years. I repeat what I have said on other occasions: one cannot have more Europe with less money. We have come to a point where I hear proposals to reduce the Union’s budget even to a level below that of 2006. I ask you whether this is feasible or realistic. The Commission will do its best to play a constructive role, with the support of this House, in order to strive for an agreement on the financial perspectives in the coming months. Let me say, however, loud and clear that this agreement cannot come at any price. This is a duty we have to all Europeans. This College and its President have been elected by a broad majority in this House. As we put our proposals in front of you today, we want to honour the confidence you have expressed in us. We have listened to Parliament’s views and we are ready to stand the test. We believe that what we propose to you is good for Europe and for all Europeans. We hope you can agree with us that we can work together on the common strategic objectives. Growth and jobs, a dynamic, competitive economy, and modernised social protection and solidarity are the key to our model of social justice and sustainability. At home and in the world around us this is what we propose to you today, and we hope we can count on your support. Our number one priority is prosperity. It is the cornerstone on which the European model of social solidarity and sustainability is built. Prosperity requires economic growth, competitiveness and productivity. These are the conditions for nurturing sustainable development. Indeed, the Constitution lays down sustainable development as the framework for European Union policies. This must underlie all our work, and lasting prosperity is only possible in a climate of solidarity and security. With these permanent objectives in mind, we now need to focus on the instruments, and there we come to the economy. In the present context of declining growth, and considering the challenges from global competition, our first task must be to help restore growth, pursue the necessary reforms and create more and better jobs. So how do we put Europe back on the path to long-term prosperity? The answer is clear: we need a new economic dynamism. Next week I will come before you with our proposal for the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy. The Kok Report has already identified where the strategy needs new energy, in particular to remedy inadequate implementation and lack of ownership. Thus the main conclusions are clear. Growth needs to be based on sound macro-economic foundations. The legal framework must foster entrepreneurship – think about the small- and medium-sized enterprises and the jobs they can create. Growth cannot come without investment in the knowledge economy, indeed knowledge for growth is a priority in the review of the Lisbon Strategy. Finally, we should draw people into more and better jobs. Renewed growth and more and better jobs will only come when we translate our analysis into action, and that must be our task for the next five years. Another strategic objective is solidarity. There is no Union without solidarity. Our common project implies a responsibility to guarantee social justice, but also to protect our environment. This means renewed action in different areas. There must be economic solidarity. Cohesion policy must remain at the heart of how the Union works. We must narrow disparities between the rich and the poor in Europe and help disadvantaged areas and groups. There must be social solidarity through a revised social agenda. Future generations will not forgive us if we fail to tackle climate change and cherish our natural resources. There is also the problem of solidarity among generations. We need to act. It is possible to preserve Europe’s prosperity and quality of life. Environmental protection can be turned into a double advantage by fully exploiting Europe’s competitive edge in environmental technology and promoting eco-efficiency efforts. Solidarity also means the promotion and defence of European common values. When we speak about a soul for Europe we mean values such as guaranteeing fundamental rights, fighting against discrimination, promoting gender equality, and protecting and promoting cultural diversity. These are the foundations of a society based on mutual understanding and dignity. This message is all the more relevant as we prepare to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. In addition to prosperity and solidarity, there is another strategic objective: security. Only with security can we enjoy the benefits of liberty. Within a borderless Europe, citizens increasingly look to the European Union to find solutions to tackle the risks they face in their daily lives. For freedom, justice and security, the Hague Programme has given us a roadmap to move ahead, but we need to bring this work to fruition. Prevention and the fight against crime and terrorism must remain a top priority for the coming years. At the same time, the freedom and fundamental rights cherished by Europeans should be respected. The efficient control and surveillance of external frontiers is a common duty for Member States and the Commission. The Union provides a framework for effectively managing asylum, immigration and human trafficking."@en1

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