Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-179"

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"Mr President, it is a joy and an honour for me to appear in the European Parliament as one of the representatives of the Slovak Republic and also to thank all of you who have been instrumental in enlarging the European Union. From an economic point of view, however, the new Member States became part of the European Union long before 1 May 2004. In 1990, shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War, the countries of the ‘Eastern bloc’ had a balance of trade surplus with the advanced Western countries of some USD 10 billion. Over the subsequent years, this indicator was turned totally upside down and, in 2002, the countries of the former Eastern bloc had a balance of trade deficit with the advanced Western countries of around USD 40 billion. This occurred because the advanced Western countries took advantage of their superior competitive position to break into the markets opening up in the eastern countries with an annual increase in their economic potential of about USD 50 billion. This factor was one of the sources for economic growth in the advanced Western countries in the 1990s. Today, we are witnessing the enlargement of the European Union. The existing Member States are on the one hand putting on a friendly face towards the new Member States, but on the other hand several Member States have imposed restrictions on the free movement of workers with respect to the new Member States. I also consider, given these circumstances, discussion on reducing Member States’ contributions to the European Union budget to be not altogether appropriate. If there are doubts about the destination of these resources or the way in which they are expended and used, it is time to look for a more effective model for the operation of the entire mechanism for the distribution of EU resources and not to weaken financially the system of regional and structural solidarity, which could be one of the sources for future economic growth in the EU. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I should like quietly but insistently to urge you to make sensible decisions which will not disappoint the fragile expectations of the citizens of the new Member States following accession to the EU."@en1

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