Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-119"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen today it is my great privilege to share with you my thoughts in the context of the European Union’s enlargement. Despite the festive atmosphere of recent days, those thoughts are concerned more with problems than ovations. First of all, coming from a country that has only just acceded, I do not feel morally entitled to say where the future borders of the European Union should lie, or when further enlargement should stop. At the same time, it would be equally morally unjustified to make insubstantial promises to our neighbours concerning their possible accession, in a situation where neither party is ready for it. The experience of relations with Turkey over the past 40 years would be a poor model to use for the development of relations with Ukraine today. Secondly, my background in academic circles has given me a clear understanding of what is accomplishable and what is not. A prerequisite for the enlargement of the European Union is an in-depth approach to integration. The Constitutional Treaty enables the involvement of ten new Member States in collective processes without compromising the fundamental principles and decision making of that union. If the Member States fail to ratify the Constitutional Treaty, we may have to accept that future enlargement may also come to a halt. Thirdly, I believe that all rounds of enlargement must be based on certain objective criteria. Once a round of enlargement has taken place, however, Member States should be treated equally. The restrictions on the free movement of workers imposed by some Member States is just as unwarranted as the imposition of stricter internal market regulations on new Member States. If the European Union accepts the splitting up of Cyprus, why then should it agree to the raising of Russian minority issues in Estonia and Latvia? That is just not logical. Fourthly, I welcome the European Union’s neighbourhood policy, which is a guarantee for stability and democratisation beyond its borders. I believe that the setting up of the ESDP mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the setting up of peace-keeping operations elsewhere in the world are signs of the European Union’s growing foreign policy agenda and of the attempts of Member States to speak with a single voice in the international arena. At the same time, I do not comprehend how countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti have achieved a higher placing in the list of priorities than our close neighbours Moldova and Georgia. Yet this was the neighbourhood policy that was supposed to prepare the European Union for further enlargements. As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, there are a great number of problems to be solved. I sincerely hope that the enlarged European Union will not prove to be a disappointment for anyone."@en1

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