Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-136"

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"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to echo what other speakers have already said, that Europe is indeed experiencing a historic moment. For the first time in the history of our continent, twenty-five countries and nationalities are sitting together round the table and are beginning to work together. I would like to thank all those, in the Commission, in the Council and here in Parliament, who have contributed to this success. This enlargement does not, however, signify the end of the enlargement process in Europe. I understand how important it is for the nations of Central and Eastern Europe to have a clear vision, how important it is to have foresight and how important it is to have a plan that these countries and nations can follow. It is for this reason that I welcome the year 2007 regarding Romania and Bulgaria, which is a realistic date for these countries. I also welcome what we have heard about Croatia, which in the course of recent months and years has made substantial progress in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, especially the criteria that we have discussed here, such as human and civil rights, political democracy and a functioning market economy. It is very important these nations and countries have programmes for the future that they are able to follow and that will contribute to the further success of the unified European continent. We should not, however, forget other Balkan countries during this process, namely Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Whilst it may take these nations and countries longer than the Romanians, Bulgarians and Croats, I think the doors to the European Union should be open for them. In conclusion, I should like to give an answer, if I may, to my fellow Member regarding the conduct of new Members in the process of establishing the Common Security and Defence Policy. I am convinced that these countries will conduct themselves responsibly and that they will contribute to implementing policies that will enable Europe to play its role in the world."@en1

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