Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-097"

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"Madam President, I would like to join my colleagues in thanking the rapporteur for the work carried out on this report. When we speak about Kosovo, we often tend to think about it in the abstract, whereas it is the last linchpin of the very fracturous European region of the Western Balkans. I think it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that we deliver the strongest possible message that the democratic will expressed by the people of Kosovo is respected, that it is brought to a conclusion and that the European Union has a unified voice on how things should progress in the future. The roadmap has already been laid out for us through the Ahtisaari Plan. It is a very clear and concise plan with regard to the kind of protection and mechanisms that can be put in place to guarantee that the Kosovars’ rights are represented and maintained. Most importantly, however, they will ensure that the minorities within Kosovo are also protected and represented and that they do not become part of a singular state in which they have no influence or role to play. Most importantly of all, if history has taught us anything – through the example of the establishment of the European Union or conflict resolution in other areas of the European continent – it is that only by having better and closer relations with our neighbours can we achieve what can truly be called a just and lasting peace. That is why Serbia must not be ignored. Even though many of us have criticised Serbia for its actions in the past, and maybe for some intransigence at the present time, it has legitimate concerns which must be responded to. Likewise, the Serb minority in Kosovo has concerns that must be addressed. We must act as the guarantor of those rights. We must show the way forward to be the best possible way of achieving the peace and stability we all crave for in that region of Europe. At present, there are 213 Irish troops among the KFOR force stationed in Kosovo. They are playing an invaluable role in creating peace and stability. As the previous speaker said, when we vote on the European Union budget in the future we should remember the common foreign and security aspect, because that is one area in which we are successful."@en1

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