Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-02-19-Speech-2-261"

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"Mr President, slogans are good for the political debate, but we must not stop at slogans. The Commission’s communication on the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs, the joint motion for a resolution tabled by the five Groups on the 2008 European spring summit and the Starkevičiūtė report each sing a hymn of praise to the fifth freedom, the freedom of knowledge, which is to supplement and stand on a par with the four freedoms familiar from the past – free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. That calls to mind a quote from the classics: the message well I hear, my faith alone is weak. We have been hearing the slogan of a knowledge-based society for years. We are taking it up again now. When it comes to concrete measures, however, the messages we hear are very different. In the past few years we have often looked into the question of whether and to what extent the European Union should have more competences in regard to the question of knowledge. It was repeatedly argued that knowledge is not an area for which the Member States should hand over responsibility, it is their own holy precinct. We have heard the same again and again in regard to the budget. Whenever we deliberate and decide on budget questions, whether long or short-term, we are told that we must save and that the most sensible areas in which to begin saving come under the headings of education, training and knowledge. A moment ago Mr Verheugen addressed the regrettable figures for research and development. I remember the constant attempts to cut back, especially on exchange programmes that are important to knowledge. I think, therefore, that this is the wrong approach. We need new instruments and we need new financial resources. Let me put forward a very concrete proposal: 10% of all young people between the ages of 15 and 25 should spend six months studying in another European country. That would create more knowledge and more flexibility and make learning more fun."@en1

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