Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-156"

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"Madam President, the European Union is beginning a new stage in its history. The greatest enlargement in 47 years has been completed. The EU’s population is rising to half a billion people, and one of the biggest single markets in the world is coming into being. This is a source of hope, above all to young people, who have no first-hand experience or knowledge of the Second World War or of the Cold War that followed it. They are so used to peace that they do not see the peace policy dimension of this enlargement as the most important thing about it. Nevertheless, this is probably the most important thing associated with what happened on 1 May – the enlargement, or, as one might say, the reunification of Europe. What we now have to do is to work towards partnership with our immediate and more distant neighbours and make the best possible use of it in the interests of all parties. It is important that a Europe that is still grappling with its own constitution should work together to further the common interest and think in regional terms. Only together will we be able to cope with the challenges that the enlarged Union will face. Only together will we be able to resolve the problem of illegal immigration and win the war on organised crime. In this, investment in securing the EU’s new external borders is every bit as important as the use of resources for scrapping dangerous nuclear power stations. The European Union now needs time to let enlargement become a success. It is logical that the next stage should involve Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia – the last of which would be very desirable as a new Member State. As far as Turkey is concerned, it is time that we appealed to the Council to ask the Commission to add to its report on the political criteria – which has not yet been produced – a study of the potential impact on the Structural and Agricultural Policies and on the EU’s institutions."@en1

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