Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-092"

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"Mr President, Honourable Members, first of all let me thank and congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Lagendijk, and the Members for their substantive and intensive work on this report. We all know that the EU currently faces important foreign policy challenges in other theatres, including the Middle East, Afghanistan and Darfur. Kosovo is not the only funding priority. But Europe has a special responsibility in Kosovo, which is on our borders and is our future home territory. At the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bremen on Friday, the Gymnich meeting, I will stress that resources cannot come from the EU budget alone. EU Member States and our partners in the international community must share responsibility. The Commission will put together a funding package that reflects the scale of our responsibility. I count on your support for this, because strong support from the budgetary authority is needed to put together a credible funding package. A final word on Serbia: let me assure you that the EU remains fully committed to Serbia’s EU prospects. We are ready to work with a new government towards this goal. It is now up to the new Government of Serbia to meet the conditions for resuming the negotiations on a stabilisation and association agreement with the European Union. Strong engagement with Serbia is essential to bringing the status process to a successful conclusion. A Serbia that has confidence in its European future will be helped to overcome the legacy of the past. As I said here before, the report and proposal of the Special Envoy, Mr Ahtisaari, were handed to the Security Council on Monday. I join the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and the EU Presidency in supporting the report and the proposal put forward by Mr Ahtisaari. I believe that we can all agree that in an ideal world, the two parties would have found an acceptable compromise between themselves. Over the past 14 months of negotiations, common ground was found on several practical aspects of the settlement. Unfortunately, Belgrade and Priština remained diametrically opposed on the core question of the status itself. Mr Ahtisaari’s proposal is designed to foster the building of a democratic, multi-ethnic society in Kosovo based on the rule of law. It contains wide-ranging provisions intended to secure the future of all communities in Kosovo, as well as protection of religious sites and cultural heritage. As Mr Lagendijk rightly underlined, the essence of a decision on Kosovo is European unity, here and in New York. We need to support Mr Ahtisaari and his proposal with consistent determination in the UN Security Council. There is no gain in delaying the decision. The UN has been running Kosovo for eight years and, clearly, the status quo is not sustainable. Therefore I expect the Security Council to live up to its responsibilities in the spirit of responsible multilateralism and bring the process to an early and successful conclusion. Once the status issue is settled, the implementation phase will start, which will of course bring its own genesis. Here too, the EU must work as one. The EU will have to play a leading role both in the running of international civilian missions and in support of Kosovo’s European prospects. This will require deployment of all our instruments and considerable resources. We have no exit strategy, only an entry strategy, in the Western Balkans and in Kosovo. Let me underline that local ownership and partnership with the international community is the key to success for status implementation. The EU and its international partners cannot substitute Kosovo’s own efforts, neither in terms of political will nor in terms of resources. But we can assist, and the status settlement will not come for free. Kosovo’s financial needs after the granting of status cannot yet be fully known, but early estimates suggest that international assistance of around EUR 1.3 to 1.5 billion may be required for the first three years after the status settlement. There will be four main areas to cover: Kosovo’s share of the Yugoslav debt, the cost of status implementation, economic development needs and the cost of the international presence, including the planned ESDP mission, which is expected to be the largest civilian crisis management mission the European Union has ever undertaken. The EU’s overall presence in Kosovo is likely to be in the order of 1500 to 2000 international staff."@en1

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