Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-01-17-Speech-3-166"

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"Mr President, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and President of the Council, gave a brilliant speech in the House this morning. She showed us in simplified terms that the EU is not a straightforward issue, but it is one that is worth fighting for. We can confirm both of these aspects specifically in the context of this afternoon’s topic. Raising awareness of our work among the people at home is no simple matter. They often feel it does not affect them. Europe is so far away, they say, and this prejudice grows when politicians here join in. It is a prejudice, however, and therefore incorrect. In recent days and weeks, large numbers of interested parties and lobbyists have been contacting me and many of my fellow Members repeatedly on this very subject – and are continuing to do so. The railways have spelt out to us what they want and need, and what they do not want and do not need. They have shown that Europe does affect them. Large numbers of consumer representatives have approached us and said what, in their eyes, the public expects and needs. They, too, feel that Europe affects them. In addition, very large numbers of workers’ and employers’ organisations have approached us repeatedly in recent weeks and months; showing that Europe affects their clientele. Admittedly, all these solicitations have involved widely differing concerns, and this leads to another fundamental problem for our European community. Trying to reduce everything to a common denominator will complicate things greatly and dilute the matter, and the result will be neither fish nor fowl. Besides – and this concerns a third element of European legislation – our processes take a very long time. We know that our railway package, too, will have to go to conciliation. It will be no easy task to reach agreement there with the Council, and long transitional periods in a number of cases will ultimately mean that it takes even longer. We should not be discouraged by this, however. The Sterckx report on passengers’ rights is worth fighting for. We mean to, and shall, succeed in laying down a single legislative text for all passenger services in the EU. We want financial compensation rather than just fine words. We also want rights for passengers with disabilities and passengers with reduced mobility. In this connection, it is important to me that we also see the case of mothers or fathers travelling alone with several young children as a problematic area and offer them help. It is important to us all, however, that we ultimately achieve a good result, and that European citizens then see that Europe does affect them, and that it is something worth fighting for."@en1

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