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Wednesday, 11 July 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

2006 Progress Report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (debate)

  Angelika Beer, on behalf of Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Madam President, allow me, on behalf of the Green Group, to welcome our colleagues from the Macedonian Parliament delegation who have come to attend this debate in the European Parliament. This is a good sign: we were very concerned by the Albanian DUI party's boycotting of the parliament in recent months. Now they have all come together to this House, marking an end of the logjam in the reform process.

Commissioner Rehn, you mentioned the reform summit earlier, and it is fair to say that Mrs Merkel notched up a real success during her Presidency of the European Union. We no longer have an absorption problem – that debate is over – and now reforms in the candidate countries will determine whether we can allow them to join.

Let me say a few words about the EU at this juncture. I would like to ask the European Union how we can credibly demand major reforms in candidate countries when a Member State like the United Kingdom wants to deny its citizens fundamental rights. This credibility gap is something that the European Union needs to address, not the applicant countries. We cannot accept opt-outs on fundamental rights within Europe.

Macedonia has made huge progress, and we are in favour of rapid EU accession for Macedonia. So I have a request to make to the next speaker: he has one minute in which to withdraw his amendments, in which he constantly seeks to sabotage the agreement between Macedonia and Greece and thereby thwart a peaceful solution.

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