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Internal Policies and EU Institutions

Key points from speech by President Jerzy Buzek at the Latvian Saeima

Riga -

Latvia is one of the first countries I have officially visited since taking office in the European Parliament. I have made a point to go to the Baltic States to show EU solidarity with EU member states worst affected by the global economic crisis.

Last week at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, Europe has taken the lead to propose solutions which will maintain growth but also safeguard our economic model. Collectively we have pushed to fix the regulatory system, and we have implemented reforms to reduce the risk created by financial excesses.

Unemployment levels remain high and it could go higher. I have always felt that there is nothing more demoralizing for a society than people who wish to work, but can not. We have a duty to find ways of stimulating growth and allow people to contribute. As John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address "if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich".

I believe we have to re-launch some of the ideas that were in the Lisbon Strategy and find ways of investing in new technologies, in education so that we can invest in our human capital, and in innovations. This is what makes Europe competitive. This is what makes Europe strong.

The European Union has proven to be a safe harbour for its members.

It is important for us to make sure that we avoid the twin temptations of renationalisation of community policies, and protectionism both of which are dangerous.

The lesson we must learn from the crisis is that in today's world, we need more European integration and not less. We need to not only protect the single market which is Europe's great achievement; but we need to extend it even further, to deal with the 'missing links' that still exist. Because Cohesion policy is a concrete sign of European solidarity, it must remain a priority in the next Community budget if we wish to integrate our reunited continent fully.

Europeans may not understand geopolitics, but they understand if their heating is turned off.

We must continue to diversify our energy resources and step up investment in renewable energy sources and in fossil fuels. Nuclear power is also available to us and each Member States must decide on its use. We have to increase energy efficiency as well as promote greater conservation.

I believe that the time has come for the Union to have a real common energy policy.

We must extend the external pipeline network so as not to be dependent on any one particular country.  We need to increase the interconnections between our gas and electricity networks.  We must also consider the possibility of purchasing gas jointly, so as to establish a genuine European energy market, which has to be based on European solidarity.  

On Friday the Irish people will be voting in a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon. I remain optimistic. I believe it will be a yes, three weeks ago I went to Ireland to talk with civil society and to answer questions so as to avoid misunderstandings. I am a strong supporter of the Treaty because I believe that it is the best Treaty now, for a Europe of twenty-seven member states.

For us to create a genuine European demos, we must have greater cooperation with national parliaments. I am very committed to this. I believe that the Lisbon Treaty will help us find a way to better exchange information. We in the European Parliament also need your feedback so that the laws we pass are the laws best suited for our citizens.

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For further information:
Robert A. Golański, Deputy Spokesman
Mobile: +32 475 751 663
Jolanta Bogustova, Press Assistant
EP Information Office in Riga
Mobile: +371 2926 6181