Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-137"

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"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say a few words about the enlargement of the European Union and about the relations with our new neighbours. This, the fifth enlargement of the European Union is, historically speaking, certainly one of the greatest challenges faced by the whole of Europe. Since 1 May we can say that there is no longer any reason to speak of a divided Europe, but of one united large European family, which must act according to common perceptions and rules. For this we also need the European Union’s Constitutional Treaty. Hopefully the drafting of the treaty will already be completed in June, since only then can we continue as the world’s most dynamic economic and political union. Enlargement has also given the European Union many new neighbours. Estonia, having spent many long years in the Soviet Union against its will, as a member of the European Union now has Russia as its direct neighbour, followed by Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova further to the south. Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to spend a year as an observer in the Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party in the European Parliament and in the Committee on Development and Cooperation, one of whose priorities is relations with the European Union’s neighbouring countries, and I would like to continue working in this committee. As a liberal, I wish to continue to support the European Union’s commitment to promote the development of democracy and press freedom in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and particularly in Russia. Estonia is a good example to them of the transition to a European country. Our experiences are necessary for the creation of a new and democratic Europe. Our investment in the development of our new neighbours is essential, since the existence of democratic neighbours is a complimentary security guarantee for the European Union itself, and fruitful mutual cooperation is a foundation for the future. I therefore await with interest the new development strategy for the European Union’s neighbourhood policy due to be drafted shortly."@en1

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