Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2013-05-22-Speech-3-543-000"

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"Mr President, once again I put before you the clear recommendation that accession negotiations for this country should start without further delay. However, this year – in response to the ethnic tensions last August as well as the political crisis of 24 December 2012 – I also want to re-emphasise some of the tough reality: that future progress towards Europe is jeopardised, that the democratic credibility of the country is in question, and that we cannot want the country to join the European Union more than its people themselves do. So, concerning the commission of inquiry, the memorandum of understanding and the dialogue for freedom of expression, I appeal to you to make substantive progress far beyond where you are today. I say the same concerning the name issue too. Europe is rightly welcoming progress between Serbia and Kosovo. Those leaders had to show no less courage than what is required today between leaders in Athens and in Skopje. Indeed, I fear that only progress on the name issue can now keep hopes alive in June. However, this Parliament is also asking clear questions of the European Council. Are you using the challenges of the country as a convenient excuse? Have you really considered what will happen if this country slides back towards conflict and fragmentation? Looking at the past year, does the European Council accept its own responsibilities resulting from the delay and rejection? Do you understand that when you are in a queue and find yourself continually pushed past, getting further and further from the front, then at some point you will walk away from the queue altogether? My own report here in Parliament was postponed pending an agreement to end the political crisis. I now fear that the European Council may have to contemplate postponing its June decision – possibly a better outcome than yet another rejection. Indeed, by the end of this year I cannot predict whether this will be a country in which EU accession negotiations have begun, or one which may have lost its candidate status altogether. What I do know is that this country and its people deserve a chance. Commissioner, I am proud that you asked Mr Buzek and me to broker that agreement on 1 March 2013 but, Mr President, when I reflect on that experience, I think most of all of the ordinary Macedonians who came up to us in the street, in corridors, on public transport, wishing us well and urging us to succeed. It is those hopes and aspirations of the people of the country which guide me most and which demand that the EU finds a way to help this country move forward."@en1

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