Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-10-03-Speech-2-152"

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"Mr President, allow me to start with a preliminary comment, not on the subject of Austria, but on another political matter. The French Presidency changed its political presence here in the House prior to the reports on the two candidate countries of Cyprus and Malta. I trust that this is not an indication of how the intends to treat small partners; it would be the wrong signal. But now to the right signals. Elmar Brok rightly started his intervention by saying that we all stand to benefit from enlargement, especially those of us on this side of the current external borders. Commissioner Verheugen, you rightly stressed that it was no longer a question of if, but of how and when enlargement will take place. But it is precisely with the “how” and “when” that we need to ensure that enlargement is prepared carefully and implemented seriously, in order to guarantee its success. The Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism has tried, within its remit, to take account of two sub-sectors which Mr Brok addressed and which must be borne in mind if enlargement is to be a success. We have just heard something about the “carrot” in the regional policy and promotion sector. If that is our classification, then transport and tourism come in the “stick” category, because in this sector we have a huge amount of and it will be a question – and I shall come back to this – of actually applying this . But first a reminder that transport infrastructure will be instrumental to the success of enlargement. A huge internal market with over 500 million European consumers needs transport routes if it is to function. Some of the infrastructure is already in place, at least in one half of the future Union. Here we have developed and are in the process of improving the basic infrastructure needed in the form of TEN. We must make similar arrangements and, more importantly, we must forge connections with central and eastern Europe. The TINA report covers these prospects. The financial perspectives make provision for some of the funds. Whether or not they will suffice remains to be seen; in any event a sound basis has been laid for the candidate countries with PHARE, ISPA and other funding programmes. But there must also be a sound basis and it is particularly important for the infrastructure to be created in the candidate countries, in order to ensure that acceptance of the Community is not and does not just remain acceptance on paper. The committee has basically endeavoured in the individual transport strategies to highlight the most important aspects. There are two very important aspects in connection with road and rail transport which deserve special mention here: as regards road transport, which has already been liberalised and opened up to an extensive degree, care must be taken to ensure on accession that the provisions of Community employment, social, fiscal and tax legislation are actually applied in each Member State because, if they are not, this will lead to distortions of the market in the European Union and in the candidate countries which, where possible, we shall then have to spend a great deal of money rectifying. Similar early action is needed and will be needed in order to join the western and eastern European railway network and render them compatible. We must ensure that the present rail infrastructure in central and eastern Europe is not replaced by road transport, resulting in a great deal of effort at a later date in an attempt to put things right. Internal waterway transport will be important for environmental reasons, because we must get heavy freight off the roads and, if it cannot be carried by rail, then we must use waterways. Once Malta and Cyprus join, the Union will have the biggest merchant fleet in the world. It is important that it should not just become a flag of convenience and that all measures prescribed in the are taken to ensure that safety is writ large. We do not want to live through another accident like the . There is a series of further points which the Regional Committee has mentioned in its report. I hope that the candidate countries and we too will take them to heart."@en1

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