Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-146"

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"Madam President, I had the wonderful opportunity to share in celebrating the historic event of enlargement and our neighbours’ joy on Frankfurt’s . It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, above all because the event had been preceded by a long process involving a great deal of work on both sides. The winners can celebrate, but there are losers too, and they have already been mentioned. One important group who have lost out are the Turkish Cypriots, who voted in favour of Europe. Another is made up of the people on both sides of the new external border, regions with which I am familiar in my capacity as Vice-Chairman for relations with Ukraine, Moldavia and Belarus. I am disappointed that the Commission is again rolling back its neighbourhood concept, and that it is not addressing the problems of people on the borders where they are. To the practical problems of border regions, it has geopolitical solutions, and that is the wrong way to deal with them. What bothers people, what they are afraid of, is the new Schengen border, the new frontier and the prospect of again being out in the cold. If you were to travel to these regions, that would be your experience too. For real change to happen in our neighbourhood concept, I am relying very much on the cooperation of our fellow-Members from Poland and Slovakia and our counterparts in Ukraine and the other neighbouring countries. In working with our neighbours, we need to open borders and bring regions together, facilitating retail trade and economic development, or else the interior will also die. For years, that has been our experience in Germany’s border regions, and so I urge the Commission to rethink its concept and ensure that the idea of Europe as a project for peace is communicated to the new border regions too, and the door is not shut on them, but rather that we take further what Parliament has proposed, which is an open-door policy, involving practical action to deal with people’s problems where they actually are."@en1

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