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Wednesday, 14 January 2009 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Presentation of the Czech Presidency's programme (debate)

  Maria Petre (PPE-DE), in writing.(RO) I would like to begin my speech by raising again the idea which I spoke about on Monday during the opening of the plenary session. You are holding the presidency during a period which has a special significance for us. This year marks 20 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain. I was saying on Monday that for us, but especially for the millions of citizens who have sent us here, these 20 years have marked a period of waiting, to some extent, and acceptance, to another extent. Perhaps it was normal for us not to be able to escape more quickly from the burden of the 50 years which separated us from the rest of Europe.

I wanted to make an intervention to congratulate you on including the third priority, Europe in the World, but especially for dealing with the Eastern Partnership as a priority. The histories of our two countries, Romania and the Czech Republic, have two strong features in common: 1968 and then the Prague Spring, which represented for us Romanians, subjected to the most cruel Communist dictatorship, a ray of light which guided us along the path to freedom.

As a Romanian MEP, I would like to ask you to give proper, specific substance to the Eastern Partnership. There are millions of citizens in this region who need to rekindle this hope by symbolically going through again now, in the forthcoming months, the events of the Prague Spring. Both you and I have the opportunity to understand perfectly the weight of this expectation.

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