Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-10-25-Speech-2-145"

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"Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I should like, firstly, to extend a warm and affectionate welcome to our Bulgarian and Romanian parliamentary colleagues, as observers. Commissioner, our group is particularly appreciative not only of your speech but also of the systematic dialogue and discussion between Parliament and the Commission. With regard to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union, I should like to remind our observers that there is a very substantial majority in this Parliament in favour of their two countries. For us, it is not so much an enlargement as a reunification with countries of an unquestionably European tradition. Here in Parliament there is even a majority in favour of the accession of Turkey, so it is hardly surprising that there is also a majority favourable and attentive to your membership. However, the Commissioner's report highlighted real grounds for concern: to put it light-heartedly, I hope that the lateness of the Commissioner’s arrival here today (albeit amply justified) is not a foretaste of delays in the accession of our two brother counties to the European Union. However, problems do exist. There is no doubt – as already emphasised and now reiterated by us in this Chamber – that progress, even substantial progress, has been made. We are fully aware of the state and condition your countries were in after years of an oppressive leftist regime. We know the problems you have had to face in the past and therefore are highly appreciative of the progress you have made, although there are still serious problems which have to be solved – and solved quickly – if we are to avoid forcing the European Union into something I hope does not occur, namely a deferral of entry by one year or possibly more. Our wish is for both Bulgaria and Romania to join the European Union in 2007. However, some problems have to be solved – and solved by you. The observers at today’s session should take away with them Parliament's goodwill but also its concerns. There is much you can do in your own countries to move the reform process further forward. The delays that still exist must be eliminated, particularly in the areas of corruption and internal security. The events of recent days give us all cause for great concern in the areas of the environment and health, and there are worries on the conditions of the external borders. We therefore invite you to take up this great challenge, because we want to have you here with us in 2007."@en1

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