Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-12-13-Speech-3-039"

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"Mr President, sometimes it is worth asking simple, even simplistic, questions: why enlarge the European Union at all? The simple answer is: in order to enlarge the zone of democracy and stability that Europe has created. However, the matter is more complex than appears at first sight. Democracy is not static, but demands constant improvement with the aim of empowering the people. This is what the deepening of integration is fundamentally about. It is in this context that enlargement raises a particular problem, and one that has to be tackled. The European Union insists that future Member States arrive with fully functioning democratic systems – as is proper – yet this overlooks the changes that enlargement brings in its wake within the EU itself. The problem is this: the entry of new Member States involves not just the states but the new citizens who are added through accession. Therefore, the enlargement of the European Union simultaneously means the enlargement of the European demos, the citizens of Europe. Their voice is seldom heard in the enlargement debate, yet leaving out the citizens threatens to exacerbate the democratic deficit. An EU beset by a democratic deficit cannot be fully effective in extending the zone of democracy to future Member States. On the contrary, it could even result in exporting the democratic deficit. That would be completely counterproductive. Enlargement must take the wishes of the citizens of Europe into account when it comes to their own enlargement, and not take their voice for granted. Failure to do so would undermine the goal of extending Europe’s zone of democracy and stability."@en1

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