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Monday, 28 May, 2001, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Excerpts from Jospin's European vision speech
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has made a wide-ranging speech on the future of the European Union. He said, since it was formed 50 years ago, peace and democracy had prevailed but the question now was how to move forward. The following are excerpts from his speech, broadcast live on France's LCI cable TV channel:
"Peoples and some policy-makers are feeling a certain disenchantment and perplexity. And it is true that the future of Europe raises legitimate questions. Does Europe not run the risk of falling apart if it enlarges to the borders of the continent? How can Europe open up to globalisation without diluting its identity? To reform its institutions, should it reduce the role of nation states? How can the citizens of Europe be given a sense of ownership and involvement in Europe?
We must broaden our perspective if we want Europe to be more than just one more market in a sea of globalisation. Europe is, after all, more than a market. It bears within it a societal model, the result of its history, which is taking shape in the ever closer ties being forged among European peoples.
In a world now globalised, our Europe cannot sit back as an island of relative prosperity and stability. To selfishly turn inward would be to fall victim to illusion and denial. Europe offers a model, a model open to the world and particularly to the Mediterranean and its rim. Europe is called upon to point globalisation in the direction of law and justice.
Yesterday's enemies have reconciled. Disunity has given way to the quest for ever greater union. Of all the regions in the world, it is in Europe that the rule of law is best implemented. Europe is the only political entity in which the death penalty no longer exists. It is the land where respect for the human person has reached its pinnacle. Europe is called upon to make this message heard more broadly.
Europe needs more economic solidarity. The single currency has now given us a much-appreciated stability... we now need economic government of the euro zone. Co-ordination of economic policies must be considerably enhanced.
Combating "tax dumping" is one immediate priority; it is not acceptable for certain member states to practice unfair tax competition in order to attract international investment and offshore headquarters of European groups. Ultimately, the corporate tax system as a whole will have to be harmonized.
Economic cohesion must serve social solidarity. This is what citizens are calling for. Europe cannot be merely a free trade zone... Working conditions must be harmonized upwards. We must reduce job insecurity and fight discrimination... We must aim for a European social treaty.
To promote employment, Europe must have strong industrial goals. Major achievements are possible with European integration... partnerships are important for our industries. They... make it possible to avoid exclusive predominance, in crucial sectors, of the United States. In the same spirit, Europe must assert itself as the continent of science and innovation.
Food safety and transatlantic menace
One of the fundamental rights of the citizen is security. Europe must help to guarantee it. This involves, first, fighting crime. Because organized crime recognizes no borders it should be fought at European level. A number of our partners have proposed the creation of an integrated European police force. I for my part support the idea.
Food safety is another requirement. Recent crises, particularly the "mad cow" crisis, have demonstrated the threat to consumers of excessive production. We must collectively learn one urgent lesson: the citizen is also a consumer who must be better protected.
Mankind's... diversity of cultures... today is under threat. Certain forms of expression, especially film, have taken on an industrial dimension. We must protect ourselves, collectively, from the threat of uniformity and the invasion of cultural products from a single source. This is a crucial issue for civilization... For us as Europeans, culture is not, therefore, merchandise. It is first and foremost a part of our identity.
In the face of the temptation to engage in unilateralism, Europe must be a factor of equilibrium in international relations. It does not want to be a dominant power but it can use its power to serve its values... Europe must define its long-term defence strategy in line with its own interests and in compliance with its alliances. This means, in particular, that it must have a consistent position on the controversial missile shield initiative taken by the United States.
Let us strengthen the role of the Bretton Woods institutions in managing and preventing crises. Let us make them more open and politically accountable. As the largest shareholder in these institutions, the European Union must make its voice heard.
The only development is sustainable development. The planet is under threat. We are accountable to future generations... This is perhaps why Europe is playing a leading role in the struggle for sustainable development, at a time when the United States appears to be evading its responsibilities. It is up to Europe to set an example.
German model rejected
A debate is under way on the future of the Union... In Germany, the SPD has suggested a structure for Europe inspired in large part by the German political system... I do not separate France from Europe. Like many other ardent Europeans, I want Europe but my nation remains important to me. My preferred policy would consist of building Europe without dismantling France or any of the other European nations.
'Federation' - for some the term means a European executive branch deriving its legitimacy solely from the European Parliament. That executive branch would have exclusive jurisdiction in matters of diplomacy and defence. In the new entity, today's states would have the status of the Laender in Germany and states in the United States. France, and indeed other European nations, could not accept that status or that interpretation of 'federation'.
If, on the other hand, 'federation' is taken to mean a gradual controlled process of sharing competencies or transferring competencies to the Union level, then the term refers to the 'federation of Nation States', the term coined by Jacques Delors. This is a concept which I fully support.
A 'federation of Nation States' would entail greater involvement of national parliaments in the construction of Europe. Current consultation procedures between the European Parliament and national parliaments do not go far enough. Let us vest in a common body - a permanent conference of parliaments or 'Congress' - a real political role.
As for the common agricultural policy, it should remain at European level but be redirected. While preserving the competitiveness of our agriculture, we must help farmers to produce better to enable them to meet the demand for food quality and safety.
The common agricultural policy must encourage more balanced development of rural areas, preserving the diversity of our traditional rural life and agricultural practices.
Europe has become a familiar horizon for our fellow citizens but they nevertheless feel a deep need for greater ownership and involvement. They want to shape Europe. For them, elections to the European Parliament should become the high point of democratic life in Europe. I call for an in-depth reform of the current election procedures.
Because I am not a lukewarm European, I do not want an insipid Europe. The Europe I would like to build is a strong Europe, conscious of its political identity, respectful of the peoples which make it up, shouldering its responsibilities in the world, prepared to support the burden of its defence, determined to preserve its balanced economic and social development model, resolved to independently define and stubbornly defend its diplomatic, industrial and commercial interests, passionately committed to its cultural diversity.
The edification of Europe demands the best of all of us: ambition and imagination in vision, humility and tenacity in work."
BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
28 May 01 | Europe
Jospin rejects federal EU plan
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