Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-158"

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". Madam President, my first remark is to Mrs Frassoni, who asked about the decision taken by the Council on 26 April to earmark money for Northern Cyprus. This was a political decision made by the Council. The Commission will work out how to clarify it. In terms of the kind of decision-making involved here, this is how outstanding commitments come about. We have had enormous problems with outstanding commitments that have accumulated in our general external aid. A lot of that has historically reflected these kinds of manifestation-driven decisions that have not been based on more specific and better prepared work. Please bear in mind that the fastest possible tender for anything – and we have to put everything out to tender – takes at least six months. And that is when we have reached a point where we actually have something concrete to put out to tender! There is a lot of work to be done before we reach that stage. Parliament must understand that there is some way to go, and that the decision was more of a political signal than something that immediately translates into specific actions. It is not fair that this Commission, or our successors in the next Commission, should continue to be under the same kind of pressure that we have felt thus far. The Council decision will be respected. Many Members addressed the broader global perspective of an enlarged Europe. It is not Europe that has been enlarged, but the European Union: that is an important distinction. I am confident that what we do in the global perspective will not in any way be weakened by enlargement. It will in fact be strengthened. Mr Lagendijk asked whether, in the light of the lessons we learned last year regarding Iraq, we should have a common foreign and security policy. He said that we must hope that the new Member States will not act as a Trojan horse. I have strong views on this. With regard to deepening or expanding the Union, please keep in mind that the Luxembourg Agreement reinstating the veto in the Community was decided in 1966, many years before the first wave of enlargement took place. It would be nice if the 'old' Member States could show some humility now and then. It is also interesting to note that CFSP will not really mean 'common foreign and security policy' as long as it is totally off-limits to discuss, within the framework of our foreign policy cooperation, what two of the Member States of this Union are doing in the UN Security Council. In many ways, the 'C' in CFSP still only means 'convenient'. This is where we are. I do not approve of using this moment of celebration as an opportunity to forget these fundamental realities. The challenge is still there. Some Members referred to the Treaty being negotiated and discussed as a way forward on these issues. I would warn against unrealistic expectations. There is in what is now being discussed that creates a new situation in relation to what we are addressing here. Europe cannot have a High Representative based on the lowest common denominator, and the whole architecture of our foreign policy is still defined by the lowest common denominator. In relation to ensuring that the European public understands what cooperation is all about, one of my biggest worries is that we often create confusion by characterising what we have in an unrealistic manner. That said, the debate today has been positive. Mr Lagendijk also mentioned Mr Prodi's recent remarks on Russia and Ukraine. There are no new messages for me to give you on this. The notion of the European neighbourhood policy is exactly what we need. If I disagreed with a Member while listening to the debate, it was for the most part because those concerned were jumping to conclusions. This is not what we should do. This new neighbourhood policy is simply borne out of a need to create a strategic, positively-defined neighbourhood, keeping our options open and organising everything over the long term. Continual enlargement will never be a sustainable answer to the question of how to live with Europe's neighbours. It is thus wise to have created and launched this concept; it serves Europe and our new neighbours well."@en1

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