Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-09-04-Speech-1-099"

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"Mr President, Europe really does not have a good reputation among the people who live in it; it has become proverbial that ‘everything bad comes from Brussels’. Looked at from that angle, the danger is that the public will once again misread our intentions. ‘Tax’ and ‘EU’ are inflammatory words virtually always capable of being interpreted and misunderstood to mean that Europe, the EU, is yet again attempting to impose on the public. Most of the speeches we have heard today have explained why, in this specific instance, in the Riis-Jørgensen report, something completely different is at issue, but there have been those who have argued that this is no more than yet another attempt to reach into Europeans’ pockets. It is not surprising that, when the domestic political temperature is running high, politicians – and opposition politicians in particular – cannot resist the temptation to use anti-EU slogans as a means of whipping things up. In my own country, Austria, we have national parliamentary elections in four weeks’ time. Power is at stake, and so there are quite a few who are not mincing their words. Our main opposition party, the Social Democrats, are covering large surfaces with posters claiming that Chancellor Schüssel’s Federal Government wants to bring in a universal toll on private motor vehicles. The fact that this is not the case does not bother them; they just try it on, and anti-European sloganising gives them a chance of scoring a few points. Let me tell you, then, that the Riis-Jørgensen report is a step towards a rational way of taxing motor vehicles and protecting the environment. That, and nothing else, is what it is about; it is something one can vote for."@en1

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