Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-322"

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"Mr President, Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, we are attempting today to underline the positive developments in Serbia, and let there be no misunderstanding about it, there is nothing wrong with that. It is important for the European Union that Serbia develops towards democracy and it is important that we, the European Union, acknowledge that process and, where possible, support it. It is the same endeavour being undertaken at present in other EU institutions, in particular in the Council. We must not overdo it, however, ladies and gentlemen. Even if Serbia does everything it is asked to do in this report, but at the same time it plays a negative and destructive role in the negotiations on the future of Kosovo, then that will of course have negative consequences for the pace of Serbia’s overtures toward the European Union. Ladies and gentlemen, that is how it should be. That is why I find it incomprehensible and not good that up to now the link – which I believe is a real link, everyone knows that – between the Serbian position in the negotiations on Kosovo and Serbia’s route in the direction of Europe is not made. I am therefore appealing to fellow Members to support the amendment in which this link made. There is a connection between the Serbian position on Kosovo and the pace and content of the negotiations between Serbia and the European Union. The refusal to make that link up to now is explained by the argument that we – the European Union – do not want to make things even more difficult for the democrats in Serbia, for President Tadić, and so we have to keep quiet on the difficult issues. Ladies and gentlemen, I disagree fundamentally with that assessment of the situation. I agree with the predecessor of the present Commissioner, Chris Patten, who recently wrote that it is a misapprehension if we believe that we are helping the democrats by being soft, by not being candid and honest to Serbia. By not being open and honest, we are strengthening Kostunica who can then say: if we take a hard line we can force the European Union to make concessions. That is not the way forward. Once again I beg you, be positive, but be honest and make things plain too. The citizens of the EU and Serbia are entitled to that."@en1

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