Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-154"

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"Madam President, I believe that we must, even today, begin to deal actively with the issues that came to the fore on 1 May. For Europe, new members mean new borders and new neighbours. Among these new countries bordering on Europe for the first time, we find again, after a break of 15 years, a totalitarian country, Belarus, and also Ukraine, where democratic and economic reforms have unfortunately stalled. Next come Moldova and the Transcaucasian republics – all of them are countries with latent conflicts but which have temporarily managed to halt their civil wars. Russia, whose problems we already know, I shall pass over here, since Russia has already been the European Union’s neighbour for nine years. However, as Gary Titley has remarked, she is now in our midst. These countries are all possible conduits of migration; and nobody monitors the people entering their territories. Some of these countries are on the verge of ecological disaster. We can predict that the yawning economic, social, legal and political gulf between the European Union and our new neighbours will continue to widen. The gap is already clearly visible, but in a few years it will have grown significantly. We know what this means, and, believe me, it will become a significantly more important issue than that of the transition period for the free movement of workers. Some here have spoken of the historical and cultural borders of Europe. I warn against it. Eight years ago, in his book, Samuel Huntington drew the border of Europe; this border almost exactly matches the border of today’s enlarged European Union – a thought provoking circumstance. We must not allow such a theoretical geopolitical conception to become a material and political reality. If we do nothing, Huntington’s Europe will, however, come true. We have a choice to make: either we direct significantly more political attention and financial resources to these countries, which is of course very expensive or we build a new effective, but un-European and inhumane wall, a great wall of Europe between itself and its new neighbours. In this case Europe’s eastern border will soon resemble the US–Mexico border, together with all the similar problems. Paradoxically this wall will be located in the same countries that 15 years ago suffered due to the wall on their western border. A secure Europe must deal with the issues of its neighbours. It is up to us to decide whether we do so via segregation or assistance."@en1

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