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Wednesday, 13 December 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2006-2007 – The institutional aspects of the European Union’s capacity to integrate the new Member States (debate)

  Cem Özdemir (Verts/ALE). – (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, its own enlargement is one of the most effective foreign policy instruments and means of conflict prevention in the European Union’s history, but there are both challenges and opportunities in store for us.

After the accessions of Romania and Bulgaria, we can expect to have to deal with that of Croatia, and then, in a later round, not only that of Turkey, but also that of the countries of the Western Balkans, who must not be forgotten in all this. Difficult a task though it is, the EU must, as it is enlarged, also become deeper, and that will call for reform of the institutional framework. The problem we have is not so much with the public or with the candidate countries as with the European elites, and that is why I urge Mr Brok to take as his model that great European Helmut Kohl, who had the courage to bring home to the public the importance of a broader and deeper EU.

The time has come for a new initiative to resolve the Cyprus conflict and to bring to an end the isolation of the island’s Turkish North. I rejoice at the undertaking given by the Greek part of the island, but what is also needed is a new initiative under United Nations leadership, which will make possible a final settlement of the conflict and enable the EU to treat the negotiations with Turkey as a matter completely separate from it.

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