Europe of Equal Citizens - Address by On.le Guido Podestá

FIMITIC Event in Rome, Italy, April 4, 2003, Teatro Olimpico
Topic: Europe of Equal Citizens - A Society for All!
Address by On.le Guido Podestá, Vicepresident, European Parliament

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to extend the greetings of the European Parliament. Thanking Mr. Pagano for the invitation, I will express the view of the European Parliament . I tackle the issues that have been mentioned without minimizing the war problem and focussing on the European Year of People with Disabilities as I did already at the official opening in Athens. It is very important for human dignity that in near future 10 countries will join us. The enlargement issue is of extraordinary importance and of benefit to all EU-members and the countries in transition. The third point to be underligned is the Italian Presidency starting on 1st of July 2003. In this presidency I saw an extraordinary opportunity to establish the future policy of the Italian Government to overcome the differences in Europe in relation to the present war in Iraq. I experienced the difficulties of the disabled people and I thank Mr. DÂ’Alfonso, Mr. Bravaccini and many friends of the ANMIC association and I will share with you these teachings which are our targets that means full participiation of the disabled in all sectors of our society, as practical, tangible changes in life of everybody. We need to be aware that we should get rid of bias on handicaps as they say: we have to disseminate a new way of thinking and even people with disabilities are affected by this view in our society. They need to be treated as citizens of our society, affected by disablilities and the legislator has defined this context. The associations have a place in our countries and will act as platforms to identify the common goals included in all EU-polices. The third point is the evaluation of the issues remaining to be met. ANMIC needs to be applauded for its outcomes, maybe we failed to reach a full picture but to reflect upon the fight against discrimination we have to consider the Article 13 and its follow up.

Highlighting what Mr. Pagano said is the right to work, to be part of our society, to be given social security, however this is not enough. We have to consider all aspects: transport, education, and social integration in the education system. Let´s go back to costs: this is a topic the members of parliament need to deal and share with national and European governments. We need to reach this access, we cannot be excluded from this obligation towards young generations having the right of access. I am part of the generation in need to reform the prevention-services being aware that this means a lot of investment; the parliament is involved in this policy. Cutting the education for social polices, I am asking myself wether we are sure that financial cuts will not involve further costs in future with new problems arising. I think that with the celebration of the Year 2003 it´s important to set up a committee. In 2003 we will have to start working on preparing the grounds to set up an ad hoc committee and ANMIC will implement the best practices our country will boast. There will be 15 countries having had taboos in the past but now using a coordinated method with EU-pillars. Each country can implement the principal of subsidiarity and countries which have lower ressources on the average level have to support those who have less ressources. Welfare is not associated to the state supporting the citizens but human beings are at the heart of society, human beings are the centre of the society, we need to get rid of cultural bias.

To end, we have the family which is the heart of our society and has to assist the individuals but there are also those without families, so the society being a democratic one needs to support them. Finally, as Mr. Pagano said, I should act as an European but same time as an Italian, saying that FIMITIC should have its headquarters in Rome. There are thousands of people in this country who should share the construction of the future of Europe.