Finnish Presidency of Council - efficient and professional performance expected. Hans-Gert Poettering, EPP-ED Group Chairman
At the football World Cup Europe has already won. The peaceful competition and fair play of the World Cup serves as a good example for the co-operation between people in the European Union and is a good start for the Finnish Council Presidency, Hans-Gert Poettering, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, said in Strasbourg today.
He has expectations of Finland of an efficient as well as professional Presidency, which will carry out solid work for the European Union. In the succession of presidencies each country has a specific responsibility and smaller countries are often very successful.
The Chairman of the EPP-ED Group specifically requested of the Finnish Council Presidency the formation of a high-ranking working group, composed of representatives for the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, to prepare the common declaration scheduled to be delivered at the celebration on 25 March 2007 of the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaty.
He hopes not only the European institutions and the governments will be present at this occasion, but also groups representing social interests, such as trade unions and employers associations. This would create a new awareness of Europe and its importance for peace and prosperity. The Catholic Church has already planned an event in Rome for this purpose.
Regarding the relationship with Russia, which will be an important issue for the Finnish Presidency, Poettering explicitly asked the Presidency to extend relations with this important political partner, but while doing so also advocating human rights in Russia. Poettering recalled Michail Chodarkovsky's case and the treatment of him in Russian prisons. "A policy of polite reminders is not enough", Poettering said.
The Chairman of the EPP-ED Group welcomed the announcement by the Finnish Presidency that it will organise parliamentary conferences with the European Parliament and national parliaments. For the future of the European Union a good and close co-operation between these two levels is necessary.
(translated from the original German)
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