Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-07-03-Speech-3-040"

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"Mr President, my fellow Members have said some very important things about foreign policy and that the European Union must not become ‘Fortress Europe’. I would like in my own speech to stress that we must also practise good neighbourly cooperation in our neighbouring regions. The Danish Presidency in fact offers a new opportunity for this in the Nordic area. The Danish Presidency’s programme makes mention of strengthening the so-called Northern Dimension. This is welcome news as far as I am concerned, and I would like to propose that the Commission and Denmark, during its presidential term, should together also begin to draft the next Northern Dimension Action Plan, as the current one becomes void at the end of 2003. I would really like to know what the Commission’s position is on this Northern Dimension question. Does the Commission take the matter as seriously as Denmark, as the country holding the presidency? This is about cooperation between the whole of the European Union and its northern neighbouring regions and not just cooperation between the northernmost Member States and such counties as Russia, Iceland, Norway and Greenland. This is actually a programme within whose framework we must be able to resolve our common problems. These relate to the huge challenges we face. For example, the gap that exists between the standard of living in Russia and that in the European Union and the difference in the rate of development are so enormous that this in itself constitutes a threat to security. There are nuclear power plants, the transportation of nuclear material, and then there is this problem over the Arctic region. Do the Commission and Denmark also now intend, within the framework of the Northern Dimension, to look into the issue of the so-called Arctic Window in the Northern Dimension, and what in concrete terms do they intend to achieve in doing so?"@en1

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