Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-25-Speech-3-394"

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"Mr President, as is well known, Austria is a land of mountains, but it is also – and Austria’s national day being tomorrow, perhaps I might be permitted this allusion – described in its own national anthem as a land on a river, the river in question being the Danube. This makes inland waterways an important subject for us Austrians, as we are connected by water to the West, to the Rhine-Main-Meuse system that is to be found there, but also, and above all, to the south and east. We in Austria know how important it is – not only for our own country, but also for Europe as a whole – to have a better, by which I mean above all better-functioning system of waterways. Although reference has been made to the environment and technological dimensions, and to much else besides, we also know that it is above all for the sake of the new and future Member States of the EU that alternatives to roads are needed, for without them, we really are going to end up as roadkill, and what better alternative could there be than a well-developed and therefore well-used infrastructure in Corridor 7 of the Trans-European Network? I am glad that the Commission is willing to attach greater importance to this mode of transport, and I can do no other than agree with much of what Vice-President Barrot has said today. While, though, we do need plans and programmes to be set out, they also need to be implemented, and as soon as possible. I hope that the contributions made at the Vienna conference on inland waterways staged by the Austrian Presidency of the Council were useful in terms of our subject overall and will therefore be relevant to our future opportunities. I particularly want to express my thanks to the rapporteur, Mrs Wortmann-Kool for the very good work she has done on this document and for her good cooperation, and, in particular, for her willingness to be talked into contending not only for the priorities of ‘old Europe’ but also for the openings and opportunities afforded by the new. Let me repeat what I said earlier: now is the time for us to make use of these opportunities!"@en1

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