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Bertie Ahern QUOTES / QUOTATIONS
A decision has to be made next December exactly when the final stages of negotiation between Romania, Bulgaria and the Commission are presently going on.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
A number of points about this - I don't disagree with reform to try to help the caller from Cape Town and to help agriculture produced in the developing world.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
And all the time we're trying to keep that it is a nation - it is a group of nation states working together. So what are the ground rules?
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
And the Irish people have coped I think with this very, very well in what is an enormous change for us in terms of what's happened for the last 150 years.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
As long as we have a position - I won't move until you move - and won't do this until you do that - you'll never get anywhere.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Before you could be as competitive as you liked but you'd nowhere to trade your goods and services.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
But many people in several European countries, and large numbers of Russian people, are coming in, they're coming in on working visas.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
But our view on citizenship and our views certainly on people coming to work here, which is the question, has been a very open one and a very tolerant one.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
But they've strong support from the United States, they've strong support from many other countries in Europe and it's going to be hard to say no.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
But we were seeing a situation where people were coming from elsewhere to abuse what was the position which we could not allow to continue.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
But we're continuing - in the presidency - we've worked extremely hard to have a very fair and balanced view.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Can you imagine the effect of that? Proportionately we've the highest number of Nigerians when we entered the Community coming to Ireland. So it's been a huge change for us.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Every decade of the census in Ireland the population dropped. It has only been in the last decade or so, slightly more than now, that we've seen an increase in population.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I accept people would say from the developing world that it's too slow but I think there is a lot happening.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I don't think any of these things are major obstacles. I think they'll get there. Time to be decided in December but I don't think there's any doubt about it.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I hope that somewhere during this year that we can succeed in doing that, the people of Northern Ireland deserve it, they want it.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think a decision will be made that they will join. What period of negotiation I would say would be more a lengthier period than perhaps Turkey would want.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think in a large community it will probably take time. But they will have to set standards and set guidelines so people know exactly whether their qualification is going to be accepted.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think racism more generally as people, I don't think it's a big problem in Ireland but I'm very conscious that you can't be complacent about it.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the collective spirit that the union brings in cultural issues and dealing with different laws and trying to pool it, is a good thing.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the countries are trying very, very hard to comply with the regulations.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the European constitution is a far easier one for people to explain, to argue and debate and for people to get some passion about.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the main benefits of a constitution for people is just the workability of how the Union operates.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the other part of the question - if somebody rejects it, do you put it back again? Well Ireland was in that position after Nice.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the pooling of sovereignty, the opening up of markets, the opening up of views is actually an enormously positive thing.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think the Turkey situation is going to generate far more debate and far more controversy for many, many reasons. Its size.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think there are times that a debate and a referendum are good, there are other times it's just too complex.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think they'll do very well in the Union and they're already in a financially healthy position.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I think what we have to do is to try to say listen we have to stop those things that are wrong, we have to look at those things that are positive.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I'm a bit disappointed that so many people have closed up on their barriers, that's why we have been very anxious to keep our position.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
I've been deeply involved with those negotiations, not only during the Irish presidency but of last year as well, very much following what's happening.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
In fact the truth of it was - I was finance minister then - it was hard enough for us to explain it to each other.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
In my local hospital, which is one of the biggest hospitals in the country, we've now 29 nationalities.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
In our case employment has been strong and that has worked very well for us.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
It is inevitably slow on these issues, but it will happen.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
It was actually the financial mechanism, it was the Maastricht referendum. In Nice we would have stopped enlargement.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
It was the right to claim Irish citizenship regardless of your fidelity or contact or solidarity or connection with the country in any form.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
It will be a debate in Parliament, a debate in parliamentary committees and then it is up to the people who join in the campaign and who puts resources into the campaign.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
It will be the first major Muslim country. I think that could be a good thing.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
It's in the next round that Ireland will become a net contributor.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Let's be clear it is very difficult, we must continue to work with the countries in the Middle East to try to find an acceptable way forward.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Malta's - what they don't have in their natural resources I think they make up in tourism and they make up in other areas.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Malta's always been associated with Europe, always close to Europe.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Many people in Europe would complain - the element of their taxes and goes to subsidies - but we have to look after that.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
My foreign minister has been to Israel, he's been to the Middle East. I've had the Palestinian Prime Minister and foreign minister here.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Now what we are endeavouring to do is we know what the outstanding issues are, we know that we could argue forever about the rights and the wrongs.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Obviously the context of that in terms of the population would change dramatically if Turkey were members.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Obviously, Europe in the first case and the Common Agricultural Policy, has to look after its own citizens but there's a large cost to that.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
On the other side of it, we do have a moral obligation and also for economic coherence in the world and under the GATT round - an obligation to try to help the developing world.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
People join because they want to join, nobody is coerced into joining. It is based around freedom and solidarity of human rights, good governance.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
So you cannot give a commitment that you would not go back, I think, one country can't hold up everything, you have to consider your position.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
That is standard negotiation but we have to find resolutions to it.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
That's why we have constitutional amendments when you have a treaty so that you take on board the treaty.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
The educational council have been working on this and doing this but it is an important area.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
The EU law cannot override what is in somebody's constitution and particularly I cannot have any say where they have not competences and of course they have not got competence everywhere.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
The timing of the bombings was clearly designed to wreak the greatest level of havoc and carnage. They are an attack on the democratic process and cannot be justified by any political cause.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
There are a lot of pluses but I think that a community and a country like Turkey that will come into the community, it brings different cultures.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
There is a Russian Summit later on this year, which I'll co-chair, where they're looking for equal access, they have not got that.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
There's no restrictions insofar as you're not going to democratically stop people from wanting to put in money, which I think is what he would like me to do, which I won't.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
They are making progress, they have to, everybody has to follow the same system, they have to comply with the same regulations and they have to comply with the various criteria.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
W e did change the referendum procedure where both sides were put under state money.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We are very much basing the bait around multilateralism, where we all must work together and get the United Nations back centrally involved.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We had a procedure that a referendum commission had to equally put the arguments for and against.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We had an abuse of our constitution where people were coming to Ireland, having a baby, some of them leaving immediately and then claiming EU citizenship in other countries.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We had negative growth most of the time and there were difficult times when we joined Europe, times of coping with the changes.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We have coped well with this. You have to keep some control.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We have institutions, we have a system, people have to pledge by rules and as in any democracy then you have to live by those rules.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We have just completed, in the Irish presidency, a very radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the whole mechanism of how farmers in Europe will be paid from next January.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We now have in the United States I think they've 60,000 Chinese students in the United States at the moment, in Ireland we've 38,000. So we're a very small country.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We're the presidency of the European Union, we would show the same respect to anybody, of any political persuasion.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We've been using our presidency to try to develop and build and unite again from some of the hostilities and some of the difficult moments we had of last year.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We've had - everything's treaty based, the competences of who does what, the role of the European Court of Justice. It is I think, to the ordinary person, difficult and I think.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
We've now, I think, in the last six years stopped the violence. We've a new generation growing up now who are not living in violence.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Well the simple answer to that is that the EU only has competence where the EU has competence. If it's a law or a constitution provision that is just for the nation that doesn't change.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Well we always have referendums in Ireland every time there's a constitution change, so it's something we're very familiar with.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Well you know the historical question in Ireland and her position was that for 150 years, in the time of the great famine in Ireland, our emigration was the issue.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
What the intergovernmental conference has been doing, what's the convention was doing, which was - first of all I think the convention was enormous.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
What we're now stating if somebody is in here for three of the four years before a child is born then they can get citizenship.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
When we joined the European Union we were less than 60% of the GDP of the European Union. I think today we're something like 115% of it. We've had emigration for every year that we ever had.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
Yes they're having some difficulties trying to achieve as much as they can as quickly as they can. By the way some of the 10 that joined now have had similar difficulties.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
You can't have it both ways, you can maybe for a while but you can't be a democrat and having a paramilitary organisation and that's the difficulty.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
You have to work extremely hard in education programmes to explain and to try to get people to settle in and to assist them.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern
You know we were at a stage where we had trouble every day, we had bombs every day, it was on the world news most days, unfortunately we recall that.
Quotation of Bertie Ahern