Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-09-04-Speech-2-156"

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"Mr President, in its opinion on the country reports the Committee on Constitutional Affairs has confined itself to only a few points which are significant for all of the accession countries without exception and which are, as you would expect, included in the introductory report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy. Our committee calls for a more developed schema governing the future representation of the candidate countries in the European Parliament than is provided for in the Treaty of Nice. We call for the discrimination against Hungary and the Czech Republic to be rectified and we think it is necessary for provision also to be made for the period after the 2004 European elections for any candidates acceding then. Other important concerns of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs relate to the candidate countries' participating as soon as possible in the so-called post-Nice process. A constitutional reform in Europe without the participation of the future members is politically indefensible. Of course the candidates will not be able to have an equal say in the decisions for as long as they are still candidates, but they will be affected and we should therefore also attach importance to their opinions. Our committee continues to be in favour of actively involving civil society in the Member States and the candidate countries in the process of reforming our future institutions. A prerequisite for this will be high-quality, comprehensive and above all not only one-sided information. A further concern has obviously already reached the ears of the Commission. Commissioner Verheugen already mentioned in this morning's debate that the application of Community law will be a priority in the ongoing assessment of the candidates' readiness to join the European Union. We can only fully agree with him. I have mixed feelings about another comment which Commissioner Verheugen made this morning. Commissioner, you said that the border regions would spearhead the EU enlargement process. In the light of the great restraint being exercised by the Commission where support for border regions is concerned, I fear that some border regions may see themselves as spearheads in a different sense, in the sense that they are being speared. Perhaps here too it will be possible to find a solution by working together constructively."@en1

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