Kristian Vigenin (PSE) – Madam President, we have to admit that the Czech presidency faced a very difficult beginning. The worsening economic crisis, the brutal military operation by Israel and the biggest crisis so far in European gas supplies.
Your activity will become even more difficult with the rising political tensions related to the European election campaign. The end of your presidency will be marked by the election of 532 new MEPs. I underline this figure because it is not the one foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty. I think that the ratification of the Treaty and its entry into force should be higher on your agenda both nationally and at European level.
It may look as though you are unlucky to be leading the EU in such a situation, but every crisis is also an opportunity. Use these opportunities. Make the EU more active, visible and credible in the Middle East. Try to develop a more responsible EU policy on energy and energy supplies. Do more to put the European economy back on track while preserving people’s jobs. Mr Topolánek, I would like to see another presidency by a new Member State succeed. This is your special responsibility. This will prove that the newcomers are able not only to follow, but also to lead.
The main prerequisite for success is to bring together all 27 Member States and to make them unite around policies and actions. This will not be possible if there is no unity within your own country. The contradictory messages coming from different Czech institutions harm your prospects of success, so please do your best to put an embargo on all internal political games. It is not easy in a pre-election situation, but Slovenia is an example that you can follow. The second prerequisite is to unite behind you the main political parties in this Parliament. For six months, you must forget your own political membership and hold a broad dialogue. This is something to be learned from the French presidency.
Finally, I would like to draw attention to the rise of extremism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Europe. The Czech Republic is also affected by this trend. I ask you to include this issue high on your agenda, particularly in view of the upcoming European elections. I wish you every success.