Rede von Hans-Gert Pöttering am Freitag, den 8. November 2002 in Rom

Intervento dell’on. Hans-Gert POETTERING
Presidente del Gruppo PPE-DE al Parlamento europeo

in occasione dell’incontro con
S.E. Carlo Azelio CIAMPI
Presidente della Repubblica Italiana
Palazzo del Quirinale
(Roma, 8 novembre 2002)

Signor Presidente della Repubblica,

Le rivolgo i più deferenti saluti a nome mio personale e in qualità di Presidente del Gruppo parlamentare del Partito Popolare Europeo.

Le porgo anche i saluti di Wilfried Martens, Presidente del PPE e di Bernhard Vogel, Presidente della Fondazione „Konrad Adenauer“ e Ministro Presidente della Turingia, impegnato nei preparativi del Congresso del mio Partito dell’11 e 12 novembre.

La ringrazio sentitamente per averci concesso l’onore di riceverci in occasione delle nostre giornate di studio sui lavori della Convenzione.

Prima di entrare nel merito di questo colloquio, desidero esprimerLe, Signor Presidente, a nome mio personale e di tutto il gruppo parlamentare europeo, la nostra più viva emozione e le nostre più sentite condoglianze per le numerose e giovani vittime del terremoto che ha colpito la Regione del Molise, augurandomi che queste popolazioni trovino presto una soluzione ai loro disagi.


Mr. President of the Republic,

It is a real honour for us to be received by you. Your competence and your personal and convinced engagement in favour of the enlargement and development of the European Union, as well as your promotion and defence of its founding values, are well known to all of us. Your personal European vocation, which saw you as a protagonist on the occasion of the historical decision of the introduction of the Euro, is precious not only for Italy but also for the whole of Europe. Your action is fundamental for us, because it defends the vision of a Union, founded on the common patrimony of spiritual values of the European people, on their common civil and social identity, in the respect and the valorisation of the single traditions and respective cultures.
You were amongst the first in Europe to support the necessity of a European Constitution in order to complete the long and complex process of European unification.
We all hope for a European Constitution in which every European citizen can identify himself and can receive a further identity in return. I believe this is the main political goal towards which we all must aim, so that all our citizens may feel proud to belong to one joint and great common land. With this spirit we face the work of the Convention chaired by Valéry Giscard d‘ Estaing.

I am proud to inform you how responsibly our Members in the Convention are interpreting the role they were entrusted, animated by one constructive spirit and a great determination. In particular I would like to stress, Mr. President of the Republic, the great engagement and the strong sense of responsibility of all the Italian Members of the EPP/ED family taking part into the work of the Convention. Their engagement demonstrates not only their personal attachment but also the importance that European values such as peace, justice and unity represent for their Parties.

The European Constitution will have to represent a synthesis of the needs, expectations and responsibilities of a Europe that has the duty to encourage and to support development, internal welfare and its security and to become a strong political actor on the international scene. To achieve all that, we need strong and democratically legitimated common Institutions as well as clear and transparent common rules, through a sharing of responsibility, in order to obtain a strong Europe.

We know, Mr. President, you firmly believe that this new and crucial step towards the Union of European peoples must happen in a realistic and also brave way, through a plan of highest profile to guarantee peace and concord in our Continent. To this end we have acknowledged with enthusiasm the common declarations you signed with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Johannes Rau, on 15 April of this year.

Both the Treaty of Maastricht and the Treaty of Amsterdam have contributed to give shape, substance and depth to the European ideal. Now this work must be completed. Our will is that the work of the European Convention – to prepare the birth of the European Constitution – should end by the first half of 2003, so that in December 2003, under the Italian Presidency, the European Constitution might finally be decided. This date cannot be postponed, because the Constitution will carry on the necessary transformations to realise successfully the forthcoming enlargement towards Central Europe and the Mediterranean. We share the fact that the work of the Convention, as you have very often emphasised, cannot be reduced to a single participation of institutional engineering, but must also be the occasion to bring the European institutions closer to the citizens, to demonstrate that Europe and Nations are not antagonist and that the time is ripe for clear and innovative choices, both on the institutional plan and of European government.

The EPP has always been, since its origins, a defender of the strengthening of the role of communitarian Europe. Especially during its Congress in Berlin in January 2001, with the document „A Union of Values“, and most recently in Estoril, with the document „A Constitution for a stronger Europe“, the European People’s Party, in tune with your own statements, Mr. Presidents, has declared itself in favour of a deep institutional reform ensuring an appropriate functioning of the Union in accordance with the values of freedom, democracy, responsibility, equality, justice, solidarity, subsidiarity, legality and credibility that should guide our political action.

Mr. President, study days like the ones in Frascati, are a sign of the importance that we attribute to this historical moment of the European construction and of our will to realise a stronger Europe, aware and proud of the own common values, a Europe in a position to contribute in a meaningful way on the international stage to the construction of the civil cohabitation and to peace. I thank you again, Mr. President, to have offered us this important and significant opportunity of encounter and I would like to express to you my great esteem and gratefulness.

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