European Council, Social Summit, IGC

Mr President, foreign policy discussions at the Brussels Summit will take place in two contexts – that of the constitutional debate and that of concrete foreign policy problems. Taking the constitutional debate first, I would like to wholeheartedly endorse what President Prodi had to say. We have to become actors on the international stage rather than spectators. And, as this is not just about the content – although it certainly is that too – but also about the name, I would also like to speak in support of Mr Antonione, who stated plainly that this is – and must be – about a foreign minister. We are not talking here about a High Representative or an ambassador, but about a European foreign minister, not supplanting the national foreign ministers, but supplementing them and organising their work more effectively.
Secondly, while I am on the subject of foreign policy, let me say that we have a problem, and – if I may discuss it briefly with Mr Antonione, let me say that the problem is the Middle East. In recent days, we have seen an agreement reached – known as the Geneva accord – which is a private agreement by two people and many others from Israel and Palestine, and the Council wants to consider this matter actually only one and a half weeks after the event. Never before though has a private agreement been given such prominence by the media, never before has an agreement called forth such high hopes, and never before has an agreement been so perfectly in line with European foreign policy, so I hope that the Council will indeed turn its attention to this Geneva initiative and will indicate our support for it even more strongly than Secretary of State Colin Powell – thank God! – has done, because, although it could be a European initiative, it is even more valuable by reason of its originating from the region itself, from men and women who know what continued suffering would be like, and without whom there would be no accord.
If it is Europe that has to be the base for the decisive campaign against terrorism, that has to do with the fact that terrorism will spread – as it has done in recent weeks – for as long as the problem in the Middle East is no closer to a solution – a solution which, it must be conceded, can be arrived at only step by step. With this in mind, we profoundly regret the terrorist attacks in Istanbul. Like New York, Istanbul is not only a city of many ethnicities, it is positively symbolic of how they can cooperate, and terrorism of course militates against such association and relationships across ethnic lines. I also think we have to give Turkey solidarity and support, but that does not mean that terrorism brings with it some sort of bonus, and, like the Commission and the President-in-Office of the Council, I am very much in favour of us proceeding exactly as we have done before, with criteria that are objective and subject to scrutiny. Terrorism must not be allowed to affect Turkey´s position either for the worse or for the better.
In closing, I would like to mention something to which many other Members have referred. I rarely concern myself with budgetary matters, but, whatever our nationality or whatever the social or political grouping to which we belong, all of us in this House are aware of the importance of every parliament´s rights when it comes to drawing up budgets, and I just want to support you, Mr President-in-Office of the Council. This House´s position is clear. We are not just drawing up a resolution. One may ask, as Stalin once asked the Vatican, `where are your armies?´, but how is a European constitution to be brought into being on the back of referendums and by national parliaments if it meets with massive resistance from this House? This is what I ask you to accept: no curtailments, at any rate not of the rights of this House, Europe´s freely elected and democratic institution.