Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-023"

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"Mr President, firstly, I should like to welcome and strongly support the President of the European Parliament’s initial declarations on Zimbabwe and Darfur. The human rights violations there are unacceptable. On behalf of the Commission, I strongly condemn those violations and appeal to the authorities of the countries involved to respect the human rights of their citizens. There is another reason why the Commission strongly supports a rapid but ambitious institutional settlement. There is no doubt that the failure of the ratification process of the Constitutional Treaty leaves a permanent shadow of doubt hanging over the European Union. Even when there are significant results, such as those achieved at the spring European Council, there is always this doubt, this negativism, this pessimism, this scepticism. We are always confronted with a question that deserves to be answered: ‘How can you convince us’, the most sceptical ask, ‘that you are serious about addressing those global issues when you are not even able to settle matters relating to your own rules and to the institutions in which you are working?’ What credibility do the European Union institutions and European leaders have when they fail to come to a consensus on those issues? I therefore believe that we need progress in this regard. Failure to agree on an institutional settlement will cause divisions which could threaten our common values. European history should remind us that we can never take the great achievements of peace, democracy, freedom and solidarity for granted. Nobody should take those achievements for granted. We need permanently to nurture our progress in terms of politics and values. If we are to preserve and protect those common values – those we have named in our declaration, the inviolable dignity of the individual, freedom, justice and solidarity: all those values that make us not just a market but a political community and a union – we need to reform the institutions of our community of law. The preservation of our common values is a permanent work in progress, which I call the ‘unfinished European adventure’. To have a better Europe, we need better institutions to deliver better results. I think the political will is there and we must now produce results in that area too. During the informal summit after our celebration, I asked Member States to keep up the momentum during the coming months. I asked for the active cooperation of national governments. All Member States signed the Treaty, which was impossible to ratify as a result of two negative popular votes. However, the commitment undertaken obliges Member States to work in a constructive manner for a joint solution. As President of the European Commission, it is my responsibility to call on national governments to make a special effort in the coming months and to support the German Presidency in its very important efforts to reach a solution. Let me repeat the message that I sent to the European Heads of State and Government and in Berlin. It is important for the future of the European Union to understand that when we speak about Europe, it is not just about the European institutions: the European Commission or the European Parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg. I said during that ceremony, at which some of you were present, that the European Union is not a foreign power invading our countries, it is our common project. Europe is not ‘them’, it is ‘us’. I said to the Heads of State and Government that it is tempting but dishonest for national politicians to take all the credit and give Brussels all the blame. Let us resist that temptation. This is the ethic of European responsibility which we all must share. After Berlin, there is a political commitment to settling the institutional impasse. The Commission will fully support the German Presidency, working with the other Member States, in efforts to reach a clear and precise roadmap and, if possible, a precise mandate by June. Let us not forget, as I said during last weekend’s celebration, that this is the kind of historic test that a generation of political leaders faces just once in its lifetime. I shall conclude with the same appeal I made in Berlin. With pride in our past, let us look at the future with confidence. Let us work together – the European Commission, the European Parliament, Member States and European citizens – to take the great legacy received from our founding fathers, to take those great values into the 21st century. Last weekend, the Europe of the past and the Europe of the future met in Berlin. As the declaration states, we celebrated 50 years of achievement in Europe: peace, freedom and solidarity, and prosperity beyond the dreams of even the most optimistic founding father of Europe. By one of those fortunate historical coincidences, we celebrated our unity in Berlin, the city that was the symbol of a divided Europe and is now a symbol of this new, enlarged, united Europe, with 27 Member States and almost 500 million citizens. The celebrations in Berlin were a very inspiring moment for Europe. I speak for many who were there when I say that we felt the European spirit among us. The Berlin Declaration proved worthy of the occasion, recommitting European institutions and Member States to European values and European goals for the 21st century. I was delighted that the declaration, a proposal made by the Commission in May 2006, became such a fitting centrepiece for the celebrations. I wish to congratulate Chancellor Merkel and the German Presidency on the crucial role they played in this great European success. Chancellor Merkel, I believe that your personal commitment to it, your personal history and your understanding of the importance of freedom for your country and for Europe was decisive in creating that spirit among all the leaders in Berlin. I was also very proud to see the three European institutions sign the declaration. The presence of the European Parliament is a sign of the democratic maturity of our Union, which deserves to be emphasised. I must also praise the very useful role played by President Poettering on behalf of Parliament in the run-up to the Berlin Declaration. Today, before this House, I should like to make two points. Let me start by emphasising the success of the twin-track strategy. Taken together, the two European Councils in March represented the twin-track strategy in action. The spring European Council demonstrated the commitment to delivering results in the area of energy and the fight against climate change. The Berlin Declaration showed the commitment to agreeing on an institutional settlement before the 2009 European elections. This shows that it is wrong to see conflict between a pragmatic approach and a political vision. On the contrary, this commitment to a twin-track strategy is the right one. On the one hand it will deliver results and recreate the political momentum to settle the institutional problem. On the other hand, in order to deliver still better results, we really need more efficient, more democratic and more coherent institutions. A Europe of results is a political vision based on constructive pragmatism, designed to address the concerns of our citizens and to provide European solutions for European problems. We also need a treaty settlement because of the great global challenges that Europe faces in the coming years. in a more effective way, can the European Union tackle the challenges of the globalised world. It is obvious that even the biggest Member States cannot tackle climate change, energy security or mass migration alone. They cannot respond alone to the increased competitiveness of this global economy. We need to do it together in a true spirit of solidarity. I believe this is the message from Berlin and that this message has now been translated into an equal commitment to find a solution to the institutional question before the 2009 elections."@en1
"Only together,"1

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