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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

  Marietta Giannakou (PPE).(EL) Madam President, I thank the Commissioner for his comments. It is true that the European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Dimension were decisive steps in efforts to deepen relations with our neighbours to the East.

Nonetheless, today, there is an urgent need to give new impetus to this effort. The crisis which has broken out in the countries of North Africa, which are included in the Southern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, are monopolising international interest, but the Eastern Dimension has faced, and still faces, similar challenges. Events in Belarus are very clearly a message and wake-up call for the European Union in terms of the responsibilities which it must assume in such cases. We need a long-term strategic plan for growth and stability in the region. Consequently, the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy – and the Eastern Dimension – must reflect an assumption of greater political obligation on the part of our partners.

It must be clear from the outset that the promotion of, and respect for, democratic procedures, the rule of law, fundamental human rights and the protection of minorities are important points in evaluating the progress made by our partners. That is why we need clear priorities and quantifiable targets in advance. Of course, this sort of evaluation should not be horizontal; we need to differentiate our relations with our partners, as each country will need to be judged separately in terms of the progress it has made, based on clearly defined criteria.

Democracy and human rights brook no ambiguity; the European Union was founded on the basis of these principles and, therefore, has a moral obligation to maintain them in the future. Within this framework, the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy needs to give new impetus to efforts to promote a substantive political framework for cooperation with our eastern partners.

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