Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-12-13-Speech-3-072"

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"Mr President, I agree with Mrs Lehtomäki that enlargement has to continue as an open process because, in defiance of many warnings and fears, all previous enlargements have turned out to be a big success for the EU as a whole. It has been, and will continue to be, a win-win process for all the players involved. Mr Stubb was right to remind us that every new round of enlargement has forced the EU, in a most positive way, to deepen its internal preparedness through new reforms. The message today is that the Nice basis is no longer sufficient for a new enlargement round. There is no alternative to the adoption of the Constitutional Treaty and applying it in practice. However, the integration capacity is not to be seen as an additional criterion for the new applicants. It should be seen as an internal commitment to make maximum efforts to achieve the necessary new quality of our cohesion. The EU should not send the wrong signal that we will close our doors to new applicants. Every European nation is entitled to join the EU and is entitled to be treated not as a guest, but as a potential and welcome member of this ever-growing family. Therefore, we need to show maximum openness to the interested nations, including Mr Milinkevich’s home country. Finally, enlargement is not only about the budgets and institutions. There is a huge undercurrent of popular opinions, fears and prejudices. This is popular psychology into which the Constitutional Treaty has tumbled. Therefore, we need openly to address these needs and fears by stimulating frank and friendly debate between old and new Member States on our different and historic cultural experiences. My experience is that these fears and prejudices are actually very similar, and that most of them prove to be unfounded. There is a huge reserve of popular support for the Constitutional Treaty."@en1
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