Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2010-02-10-Speech-3-017"

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"2009 was a good year for the candidate country of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The Commission of the European Union has confirmed this and the two presidencies-in-office, both the Swedish and now the Spanish one, have confirmed this. And that is what I, too, have said in my draft report. The authorities in Skopje have addressed and fulfilled the key priorities of the accession partnership, commonly known as benchmarks. Secondly, FYROM was the first country in the region to comply with all the visa liberalisation requirements. It did so by as early as July last year and the visa-free regime came into force on 19 December. It has solved the border dispute with Kosovo and has cooperated successfully on regional initiatives, such as CEFTA and the South-East European Cooperation Process. It has also cooperated successfully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague. Last week, the FYROM Parliament passed a resolution on Srebrenica. What are we trying to achieve in Parliament with this resolution and with my report on FYROM’s progress? Above all, we want to help. We want to help FYROM progress along the road of stability towards the European Union. We should remember that FYROM was the only former Yugoslav republic that successfully avoided Milošević’s wars. Secondly, we want to help our fellow Member State, Greece, and thereby the European Union as a whole, because we need to bear in mind that any country thrives only in so far as its neighbouring countries do. That is an empirical fact and one which can be proven. That is why I invite our friends in Greece, our fellow Member State, to try to solve this problem together with the government in Skopje and to relax its approach north of its borders. I invite Greece to be a true, fair and broad-minded leader, a mentor and a sponsor of the Balkans. The Balkans of today needs that. In this respect, I would particularly like to welcome Agenda 2014, an initiative prepared by the new Greek Government of Mr Papandreou. Well done for this initiative! I stand together with Greece. Let us do everything we can to reach this goal. Let us show solidarity with both Greece, our fellow Member State, and with the FYROM. Solidarity must be mutual. We need to bear in mind that the Balkans is like a bicycle ride. As long as it is moving, as long as it is pedalling forward, everything is more or less OK, but if it stops, it there is a blockage, if it reaches a stalemate, we fall down, all of us fall down. If we stopped now, peace, stability, security and social cohesion would break down. By way of conclusion, let me stress one more fact: FYROM has been a candidate since 2005. We all need to be aware of the consequences of our decisions or failure to take decisions. Whenever I visit Skopje, I always make it clear to them that they are responsible for finding a solution with Greece, their neighbour. Let us therefore appeal here to the authorities in Skopje, Athens and Sofia, as well as to the Spanish Presidency, Commissioner Füle, Foreign Affairs High Representative Ashton and Parliament: let us do everything, each within their own remit, to help solve this problem. That is how we can achieve a different Balkans and a better Balkans than we have seen over the past 20 years."@en1

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