Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-05-Speech-3-030"

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". I believe the debate on the outer limits of the Union that we have had both here in Parliament and in the Council has been one of our most serious, profound and clear-cut debates. From it there has emerged a strategy which, for now, is considered a common strategy, although nobody can tell what will happen in future. It is a very clear-cut strategy: we hope to be able to conclude negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania in 2007; Croatia has started its fast-track move towards the Union; as regards Turkey we have already set the timetable, as I pointed out this morning: in October the Commission’s report, and in December the decision, the frame of reference and the Copenhagen rights; then for the other countries we make a start straight away on what is suggestively termed the ring of friends, that is to say ‘sharing everything but the institutions’. This in no way means leaving these countries out in the cold; it means beginning a period of close cooperation, giving Europe some soft security, which is vital for us, giving these countries a chance to develop, and giving all of us together a chance to cooperate, both to the east and around the Mediterranean. I think this is an extremely clear-cut political doctrine, but it will take us decades to achieve. We are starting to carry out this policy conscientiously and in earnest, but we must not keep the continent constantly wondering what our horizons or frames of reference are. We have set these together; they will guide us on our way, help us make progress and will in no way jeopardise our future. I am sure this is the path that we all want to take together."@en1

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