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Wednesday, 6 April 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Eastern Dimension - Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Southern Dimension

  Ivo Vajgl, on behalf of the ALDE Group. (SL) Madam President, always with a smile on your face, Commissioner, from the start of this term of the EP, if not before, we have had a very intensive and lively debate on the urgency of reforming the Eastern and Southern Dimensions of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The need for such reform, which should lead to the interests in these regions being integrated more effectively, has, in fact, become topical and acute; it has become a necessity following the dramatic changes and processes which have unfolded in the region.

The resolution, which was prepared by my fellow Member, Mário David, who is an excellent rapporteur, and which was supplemented by a large number of shadow rapporteurs and Members as the events unfolded, is today a complete document. It emphasises our responsibility to develop relations with the countries in the region on the basis of modern values, democratic freedoms and human rights.

In this respect, it is no coincidence that we, in particular, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, have, more than ever, emphasised equal treatment of women, recognition of diversity and protection of all minorities. All of this should become an integral part of the policy which the European Union promotes in its neighbourhood in the future, including through its diplomatic service. We must be more efficient when supporting those who are fighting for the same causes in various countries: for freedom, for the right to participate in decision making and for a fair exploitation of natural resources.

The resolution draws attention to the urgent need for more operational financial instruments with which we can support economic development, the modernisation of infrastructure and investment in areas, where they are effective ... where the effects may be somewhat less visible, but which will be felt in the long term, for example, in education, integration of research and academic institutions and the introduction of new technologies.

Finally, it is no coincidence that the resolution calls attention to the urgency of reviving the Union for the Mediterranean with a view to development, a dialogue and resolution of outstanding problems in the region. It is time, ladies and gentlemen, that we opened the box of outstanding issues and frozen conflicts, so that the wave of democratisation can remove any remaining political obstacles on the road to peace, reconciliation and a new development framework in the region.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue card question under Rule 149(8))

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