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Speech in plenary debate on the European Council in Berlin, March 2007

Gunnar Hökmark (EPP-ED). – Mr President, the meeting with the European Council in Berlin is an outstanding opportunity to send the message of what we have achieved together and what we need to achieve together in the coming years, the first step until 2009. I think it is important that in the Berlin Declaration we make it clear that the problems and the challenges we are facing are there because of our success, not because of failure.

We have new countries applying for membership because of this success – because they have seen what the European Union could contribute regarding peace, the rule of law and stability. We have the whole discussion about globalisation, where the European economy is the leading global actor and gives us opportunities to meet up and to contribute to globalisation. We have the issue of security and stability in the Balkans, where, although the European Union could not do very much at the beginning of the 1990s, today we can, and that is why we have the responsibility. If we had failed, if we had not been able to develop the European Union, no one would have asked us to solve the problem, but now we are able to do it and so we have the responsibility.

That also goes for the discussion about climate change because we are, from an economic point of view and also from an environmental point of view, one of the leading global actors. We can contribute to the discussion about reducing the greenhouse effect more than anyone else and that is why we need to do it, but we need to do it wisely, securing the opportunities for growth and investment and high tech, because otherwise we will not be able to meet the challenges of climate change when it comes.

It is a challenge that is double-sided. We need to reduce greenhouse gases, but at the same time to secure a stable and prosperous economy which makes us able to meet future challenges.