Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-11-19-Speech-2-140"

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"Mr President, the youngest generation can hardly imagine a continent rent asunder and the permanent threat of war between East and West. The people of Central Europe cut down the barbed wire themselves and, since then, the candidate countries have made significant progress. Despite this, we should not underestimate the amount of work that still needs to be done in the areas of good governance, corruption, human trafficking and minorities. Today's celebration marks the beginning of the home stretch, but the finish is not in sight for another two years. It is disappointing that some parties, such as the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in the Netherlands, should seize upon enlargement as a means of regaining voters by exploiting public fears. These people are being badly informed. Responsible politicians point out not only the problems of enlargement, but also its great benefits. Populism is the new epidemic, which must be fought with liberal means and should not be encouraged. The European Union is itself incapable of preparing effectively for enlargement. The very narrow-minded French national self-interest makes the implementation of agricultural reforms impossible . Moreover, a division on the subject of Turkey's accession is once again looming in Europe and in this Parliament. The invites have been sent; neither Giscard nor the Pope can retrieve these now from the post boxes, but it is too early to set a date for the start of the negotiations. We refuse to join forces with a country that still condones torture. For the coming generations, the greatest threats are outside our continent; here, peace appears to be guaranteed."@en1

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