The European Council / IGC / Italian presidency

Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Mr President of the Commission, the failure of the draft constitution has obscured the fact that a number of positive decisions were taken at the Brussels summit, on such matters as, for example, the European security strategy. How, though, is such a strategy meant to be implemented if both the common political will for it and common institutions – such as a European foreign minister – are absent?
Today, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, you have declared, and rightly, that we are in a very, very precarious position as regards competition with the United States of America and with Asia, and you also referred to the state of affairs in the Far East, which amounts almost to anarchy. You were right to do so; how are we to compete successfully with them without a common will and common institutions, if we do not join together as Europeans in, for example, ensuring that Kyoto is implemented as a whole? Already, I hear many European industrialists saying, `We cannot be the only ones to implement Kyoto, or we will lose our competitive edge.´ That is only possible provided that a minimum of social and human rights is enforced, along with protection for the environment, provided that this shared constitutional Europe comes into being. The capacity of common purpose to accomplish something has been demonstrated by the way in which the Americans have dispensed with steel tariffs. If Europe acts together and presents a united front, we too have the opportunity and the capacity to get things done together.
This leads me to agree wholeheartedly with Mr Poettering that we need a European constitution as a symbol and as an instrument if we are to make this common purpose a reality on the global stage too. It is for that reason that I do not see the creation, at this point in time, of a core Europe as a way out. I might add that it is generally not the core of a fruit that is interesting, but its pulp, so creating a smaller core Europe is not a way out. Instead, Europe must be great, and we must hold it in common. If a few are unwilling to join in, then we have to consider how we are to achieve this constitutional Europe, this Europe in which as many as possible can share and which is open to all.
What this means is that both the Italian and Irish Presidencies of the Council must now carry the message that we have to work in order to bring about a common Europe with a common constitution and with as many Member States as possible. We must not allow our vision to fade away, nor must we, under any circumstances, abandon a common Europe with a common constitution!
(Applause)