Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-176"

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". − Mr President, I am the final speaker, so I will try to be as brief as possible. As I am the last speaker, however, I should like to highlight a few key points from this debate. Firstly, I am sure I do not need to remind you that it was on this day, 1 September, in 1939 that the Second World War began. Today, on that anniversary, we are debating a new war which has broken out, but this new war was one which we – the European Union – have been able to stop very quickly. In my view, that is a very important point. That is why this has been a lengthy and wide-ranging debate, but it has also been a good debate. We had a good debate in the European Council too, with sound conclusions. In my view, the European Union’s credibility has played a key role here: credibility and unity. As the President-in-Office of the Council and I have both said, this was a major test for the credibility and, indeed, the unity of the European Union, but it is a test which we have passed with flying colours. Assistance for Georgia is important, as we have heard. We have said that there is a need for humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance, where we will be looking to Parliament for support. I should like to thank you, as of now, for your support and will of course be coming back to you with more precise figures. Above all, however, I am thinking about the visa agreement. We are aware, of course, that there is discrimination taking place here: Abkhazians and South Ossetians, many of whom have Russian passports, are in a more favourable position than Georgians, but I would also point out that many of the individual Member States have a role to play here, and let me emphasise that the same applies to a free trade agreement. I would remind you that we had already identified three issues in relation to the strengthening of the European Neighbourhood Policy, but these did not really strike a chord with the Member States at the time. Mobility was one, the second was the issue of economic partnerships, and the third was enhanced security, which means, of course, that all conflicts, actions and consequences have to be discussed in the case of Russia too. We are at a fork in the road – a crossroads – but the future will mainly be determined by Russia, for it will be Russia which will be called to account here, just as we have said today: there will be no more negotiations on the new agreement without a withdrawal of troops. Russia has it in its power to comply with what we have said today. I very much hope that a good solution will be found on 8 September. Beyond this, there are two main consequences: the Neighbourhood Policy Plus, or whatever we call it in future, must be strengthened at regional and bilateral level; this means going beyond Georgia and involving Ukraine, Moldova and, indeed, other countries as well. This is something we have often talked about, but I am hoping that now, I can perhaps count on more support from the individual Member States. Finally, let me say a word about energy policy. This is another issue which has been of particular concern for me over the last 18 months, and I can assure you that it will continue to be a very important issue for me personally in future too. That brings me to the end of my quick resumé of what has been a lengthy but extremely important debate."@en1

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