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Tuesday, 23 October 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Results of the informal summit of heads of state and government (Lisbon, 18-19 October 2007) (debate)

  Karin Riis-Jørgensen (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, fortunately the Lisbon Summit ended well. Some excellent preparatory work was carried out by the German Presidency, and the Portuguese Presidency completed it in a professional manner. Unfortunately, I must point out that national interests have again played a role. This is definitely not appropriate for European cooperation. We must now have special powers to discuss the content instead of the process. However, we have unfortunately seen depressing tendencies that suggest that we would rather discuss the process rather than the content. However, if we are ultimately to discuss the process then I would like to state clearly that we do not need referendums to ratify the Treaty. Referendums are simply not the solution. Let the representative democracy do its work!

It is not because I am afraid of a no vote – far from it! Rather it is because it is completely wrong to separate EU issues from national parliamentary elections. The EU is and will remain a completely integral part of national policy. Referendums are used to fire shots at a government in office. They enable the other political parties to avoid being assessed on their EU policies. However, all political parties will of course be assessed on their EU policies, and this will happen when we go to the polls in the national elections. However, it imposes two requirements: a requirement that we, the electorate, allow EU policy to be decisive in our choice of national politicians, and a requirement that the political parties must of course not use referendums to avoid responsibility for the European Community. Therefore, efforts to ensure that it is the content and not the process that is given the highest priority will hopefully be successful.

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