Celebration of the EP's 50th anniversary: statements by Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the EP, José Manuel Barroso, and Janez Janša, Slovenian Prime Minister and President in office of the Council
End production: 12/03/2008 First transmission: 12/03/2008
The European Parliament celebrated its 50th birthday with a formal session, a rendition of the European Anthem and the sharing out of a birthday cake. In the presence of former Presidents of the EP and other leaders of the European institutions, Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the EP, reflected on the powers and responsibilities the Chamber has obtained since it first sat on 19 March 1958 as the "European Parliamentary Assembly". The EP, which has been filled via direct elections in Member States since 1979, now houses 785 Members from the 27 EU nations. The EU's reforming Treaty of Lisbon, when it is ratified, will extend the influence of the Parliament to involve it in most legislative procedures. During the celebrations, the European Union Youth Orchestra played the EU's anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior views of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, flags (2 shots)
||Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the EP, (in GERMAN) saying that together the Members of the EP can welcome this date by acclamation; former Presidents are present, Emilio Columbo, Lord Henry Plumb, Enrique Baron Crespo, Egon Klepsch, Klaus Hansch, Jose Maria Gil Robles, Nicole Fontaine, and Josep Borrell Fontelles; welcoming the former Presidents of the European Parliament
||Hans-Gert Pöttering (in GERMAN) saying that today, they are 785 Members from 27 European nations; they represent seven political groups and more than 150 national political parties; they are both a legislative and a budgetary authority, on an equal footing with the Council of Ministers; they exercise oversight over the European Commission and elect its President; they are the representatives of close to 500 million EU citizens; they reflect all political tendencies in the European Union; they have become self-assured and a major player in European politics;
the Treaty of Lisbon and the Charter of Fundamental Rights will make a decisive contribution towards making democracy and parliamentarianism in the European Union a reality at all levels; they can be proud of their consistent support for the Reform Treaty and for the Charter of Fundamental Rights
||Janez Janša, Slovenian Prime Minister and President in office of the Council of the EU, (in SLOVENIAN) saying that to understand and appreciate freedom, peace, diversity, the absence of borders and the perspective of a united Europe, they must always be aware of the fact that there are also worse alternatives; so it is their common task to maintain a collective European experience;
Wishing the EP a lot of success, lots of new ideas, perseverance in the development of European values, European democracy, and European way of life, in their future work; he is convinced that when celebrating the next anniversary of the European house of democracy they will again be able to celebrate very obvious advances
||José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, (in FRENCH) saying that in 50 years, the European Parliament has gained power and prerogatives; he is talking about powers legitimately arising from the votes cast by the Europeans; he is also talking about official powers: co decision making powers, budgetary powers, democratic scrutiny of the other European institutions; he is also talking about political influence: the EP is a co legislator and partner in the institutional triangle and European public life, but also it has established closer and closer links with the national parliaments;
when your are fifteen you have a future, when you are 25 you have a problem, when you are forty you have experience, but before half a century you don't really have any history; today, the European Parliament, this house of European democracy, can say with pride that it has a great history not only in the past but looking to the future;
expressing the Members of the EP, behalf of the Commission and personally, best wishes and congratulations for their past and future work for Europe
||Cutaways (5 shots)