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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

  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR).(PL) Madam President, European Neighbourhood Policy and, as part of this, the Eastern Partnership, is a key area and challenge for the European Union. It is an important political framework for strengthening relations with the partner countries – countries with which we should be moving towards economic and political integration. In the case of Ukraine, this process should end with the prospect of full membership of the European Union, of course, following fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria, and for this, it is essential for there to be greater political commitment from the authorities in Kiev.

Let us not forget the Europeans in Belarus, a country with a civilisation similar to our own, but one which is kept closed by the Lukashenko regime. Let us do everything we can for Belarusians to see that Europe remembers them and supports their endeavours to gain democracy. We can give real expression to our efforts by cutting the costs involved in obtaining Schengen visas, facilitating people-to-people contacts between Belarus and the rest of Europe and supporting community and civic initiatives in Belarus. By facilitating travel and contacts between the Union and Belarus, we can undermine the Lukashenko regime much more effectively than with dozens of statements or resolutions. Finally, I would like to point out that in many countries included in the Neighbourhood Policy, there are still serious problems in the area of respect for freedom of expression, particularly in the media, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. As a Parliament in a free Europe, we must ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

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