Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-11-19-Speech-2-159"

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"Mr President, the enlargement of the European Union from 2004 constitutes an historic milestone in the construction of Europe, something that we all sincerely welcome, for several reasons. First, because it symbolises the reconciliation of two parts of the same continent that were divided for more than half a century, until little more than a decade ago. Second, because this is the greatest enlargement in the history of the European Union, with the number of Member States almost doubling and a one-third increase in its population and territory. Third, because it encompasses countries that until recently lived under a state-run economy, which are now experiencing the painful but necessary phase of re-structuring their economies and which have a relatively low average income. Fourthly, because most of the new countries still have a very large agricultural sector in comparison to the current European Union. It is in this context that I should like to emphasise two aspects: firstly, aid must be dedicated to these countries; Community aid, financial aid and technical aid, in order to enable them to speed up their process of economic recovery and development. We must also bear in mind, however, that some regions of the current European Union of 15 are also very poor, and hence the European Union cannot at the same time abandon the policy of economic and social cohesion that it has been pursuing for these countries for some years; secondly, it must be noted that doubling the number of farmers, with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, will require the common agricultural policy to be vastly simplified, and will also require a reduction in aid for all farmers, both future and present, following the new funding limits for the CAP laid down by the Brussels European Council of 25 October. The European Union must, therefore, take the proposal to reform the CAP recently put forward by its Commissioner for Agriculture seriously, in order to lay down a better future for farmers, both in the current Union and in the Union of the future."@en1

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