Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-04-06-Speech-3-684-000"

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"Madam President, the Eastern Partnership is still very new. Therefore, it is important for us to evaluate, as we do in this report, whether our Eastern European neighbours have come any closer to the objectives of democratic reform. It is clear that there has been progress in this area, but we have also seen setbacks. For Belarus and also for Ukraine, Russia’s autocratic system, which is characterised by a flexible approach to foreign policy and a tough approach to domestic policy, and by oppression and repression, is obviously more attractive and provides more guidance than what the EU has to offer. However, the experiences and the mistakes made in the Union for the Mediterranean, where the aim was to achieve a state of security by supporting despotic regimes, show that we must rely on forces other than corrupt governments. Our objective of an active civil society based on freedom and the fundamental values of the EU can only be achieved from the bottom up by promoting and supporting the self-organisation of civil society. The Civil Society Forum, founded as part of the Eastern Partnership, is a good start. It is also currently the only body in which the Belarus opposition is involved. Unfortunately, the seats at Euronest will remain empty while there is no freely and correctly elected parliament in the country. The Civil Society Forum needs our support, as we have described in paragraph 20 of the report. However, it will remain a mere declaration of intent unless we back it up with effective measures. Therefore, I am calling on you urgently to support Amendment 5 tomorrow which provides for continuous financial support and a secretariat for the organisation. Please support Amendment 5 tomorrow so that we can make progress on developing a civil society. This really is an excellent approach. I have experienced myself in Berlin how people can achieve objectives of this kind by working from the grassroots upwards."@en1

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