Address by Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: - extracts from the formal sitting.

Type: News   Reference: 93317   Duration: 00:04:54  Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 17/04/2013   First transmission: 17/04/2013
Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins has delivered a formal address to MEPs today in Strasbourg. Ireland holds the EU Council's rotating presidency until the end of June this year. On 11 November 2011, Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland. Higgins served as Ireland’s first Minister for the Arts between 1993 and 1997. Michael D. Higgins has campaigned for human rights and for the promotion of peace and democracy. In 1992, Michael D. Higgins was the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki, in recognition of his work for peace and justice in many parts of the world. Michael D. Higgins is also a writer and poet, contributing to many books covering diverse aspects of Irish politics, sociology, history and and culture.

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TIME DESCRIPTION DURATION
00:00:00 Title 00:00:05
00:00:05 Exterior shot of the EP, flags, Strasbourg. 00:00:05
00:00:10 Arrival of Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland and EP President Martin SCHULZ. President HIGGINS takes the floor. 00:00:24
00:00:34 SOUNDBITE (Gaelic) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "Mr. President, Members of the European Parliament, Commissioner Geoghegan- Quinn, may I thank you for giving me the opportunity of addressing this assembly which brings together the democratically, directly elected, representatives of the citizens of the 27 member states, soon to be 28, of the European Union." 00:00:28
00:01:02 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "I very much welcome the increasing influence and decision-making powers that the European Parliament has won in relation for example to the multi-annual budgeting process. It was a power that the Parliament did not have when I visited here as President of the Council of Culture Ministers in 1996. And I wish you well in discharging that responsibility on behalf of the citizens of Europe." 00:00:29
00:01:31 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "We cannot ignore the fact that European citizens are suffering the consequences of actions and opinions of bodies such as rating agencies, which, unlike Parliaments, are simply unaccountable. Many of our citizens in Europe regard the response to the crisis as disparate, sometimes delayed, not equal to the urgency of the task and showing often insufficient solidarity with them in their threatened economic circumstances of today". 00:00:39
00:02:10 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "Our citizens yearn for the language of solidarity, a commitment to of cohesion, for a generous inclusive rhetoric that is appropriate to an evolving political union. A union anxious to reach a future of peace, prosperity, inclusion, inter-generational justice, in a sustainable way. And this is a serious challenge, not least because if we were to fail we run the risk of an economic crisis leading to a crisis of legitimacy for the Union." 00:00:33
00:02:43 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "A first and urgent task must be to get Europe back to sustainable and fulfilling employment and a return to real growth. There is nothing more corrosive to society and more crushing to the person than endemic unemployment, particularly among the young. With 26 million people across the Union without work, 5.7 million young people, a 115 million people in our Union are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. We simply cannot allow this to continue." 00:00:38
00:03:21 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "We need new substantive, pluralist political economic models, and an emancipatory discourse to deliver them, and I suggest that this is possible. Because the dominating model and its method, defines not only discourse, but policy options. There is an urgent need for new models of connection between economy, society and policy. They are essential for genuine, pluralist choices in policy, not to speak of democratic accountability and relevance to our contemporary problems". 00:00:36
00:03:57 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "The problems of Europe are not simply technical, and certainly not solely amenable to solution by technocratic measures at the expense of democratic accountability." Applause. 00:00:17
00:04:14 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "So let us the citizens of the European Union, who want to make a real Union together, to move out of the dark into the light, and achieve something indeed worthy of Friedrich Schiller's poem, originally called “Ode to Freedom" Many thanks (in Gaelic and English). 00:00:00
00:04:14 SOUNDBITE (English) Michael D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland: "So let us the citizens of the European Union, who want to make a real Union together, to move out of the dark into the light, and achieve something indeed worthy of Friedrich Schiller's poem, originally called “Ode to Freedom" Many thanks (in Gaelic and English). 00:00:20
00:04:34 Standing ovation from the EP. 00:00:20
00:04:54 END 00:00:00
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