Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-152"
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member; Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy (2002-01-17--2004-07-19)3
"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, many people tend to refer to certain events, in which they participate as they are happening, as historic or unique, because that is how they appraise the period in question. As time goes by, however, developments themselves, history itself, finalises things, and events are placed in their real proportion when developments themselves confirm them or cancel them. I believe, however, that history will not gainsay us and will confirm the political and historic values of this promising step of recent enlargement by Europe. Often we debate the future in terms of ideologies which have either collapsed or are outdated, resulting in our engaging in useless nostalgia. United Europe, however, must be constructed on the basis of a forward-looking perception, with positive prospects, supported on principles of humanitarianism, freedom, diversity, pluralism and peace. A few years ago, our current partners were our neighbours, with all the peculiarities and the historic and political burden of a different era. Today we are acquiring new neighbours, with a positive perception, with an expectation of hope towards the European Union on the part of citizens and politicians alike. The integration of the ten countries into the Union does not mean that all the individual problems have automatically been resolved. There are mild problems, cross-border problems, minority problems and so on, but they have all launched their solutions within the favourable environment. These ten countries bring great potential. The Baltic States and the former central and eastern European countries to the other Europe, Malta to Africa and the Mediterranean and Cyprus to the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. In a few years' time we expect Bulgaria, Romania and, later, Croatia. The same applies to Turkey which, I hope, will quickly adapt to what are European values. As for our beloved, long-suffering Cyprus, the green and golden leaf tossed into the sea, the island of Aphrodite, we all welcome it, as I do, as a Greek. I hope, as does everyone else who supported the Annan plan, as does the European Parliament, that it will help to bring about positive developments for the reunification of the island. Ladies and gentlemen, as rapporteur for Lithuania, welcome! The same to Malta, for which I acted as shadow rapporteur. Welcome to you all, all ten of you. Once again, as a Greek, welcome dear Cyprus."@en1
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