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President Jerzy Buzek's opening speech at the meeting of the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine

Strasbourg -
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last week, we held the inaugural meeting of Euronest ‑ a parliamentary assembly bringing together the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Parliament. The Parliamentary Assembly of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine may be seen as a forerunner of Euronest. By cooperating trilaterally, we have shown the European Union that it is worth paying closer attention to the eastern part of our continent.

Last week, we held the inaugural meeting of Euronest ‑ a parliamentary assembly bringing together the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Parliament. The Parliamentary Assembly of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine may be seen as a forerunner of Euronest. By cooperating trilaterally, we have shown the European Union that it is worth paying closer attention to the eastern part of our continent.


Speakers of the three parliaments,
Mr Vice‑Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted that we are meeting here in Strasbourg, the capital of EU parliamentarianism and a city that has come to symbolise the reconciliation and unification of the western part of our continent.

The setting up of the Parliamentary Assembly of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine was also a symbolic event and stemmed from a sense of having a shared historical heritage. However, the primary goal behind its foundation was to encourage cooperation between neighbouring nations, as well as to find solutions to problems and to reach out beyond the borders of the European Union.

You are meeting here today to review the progress made thus far in bringing Ukraine closer to the European Union. Ukraine is a country whose European identity is self‑evident and natural, not only in the geographical sense, but also culturally, historically and spiritually.
 
Today, we are looking to step up Ukraine's involvement in European issues in order to provide a clear framework for cooperation with the European Union. We are therefore pleased with the progress that has been made in working towards a free trade agreement and also in the negotiations on an Association Agreement. And Ukraine is most certainly well on the way to concluding these negotiations by the end of this year.

I well remember my visit to Donetsk, Lugansk and Kyiv at the end of 2004, when I spoke with members of various political movements. At that time, Ukraine was faced with major challenges, as it is now. We believe that we should meet these challenges in the same way as we do in the European Union ‑ by acting jointly and showing solidarity. We therefore welcome the Ukrainian Government's assurances as to the great importance that it ascribes to the role played by the European Union.

Last week, we held the inaugural meeting of Euronest ‑ a parliamentary assembly bringing together the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Parliament. The Parliamentary Assembly of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine may be seen as a forerunner of Euronest. By cooperating trilaterally, we have shown the European Union that it is worth paying closer attention to the eastern part of our continent.

Parliaments are the bodies that are closest to our citizens, since they are where the Members that they directly elect meet and debate. And the enhancement of the role played by the European Parliament and the national parliaments of the Member States as a result of the Lisbon Treaty is a sign that parliamentarianism within the European Union is going from strength to strength, setting an example for other parts of Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

220 years ago, on 3 May 1791, the parliament of the European Union's spiritual forerunner ‑ the Polish‑Lithuanian Commonwealth ‑ passed Europe's first constitution.  On 3 May this year, the European Union won the right to participate in the UN General Assembly. The two centuries and two decades that separate these events have seen momentous changes on our continent. They have been a time of division and of conflict, but also of overcoming division and conflict. I believe that Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, three countries that are historical partners, will prove to all of Europe just how important it is to reach across borders; just how important cooperation is between the European Union and the eastern part of our continent.

Thank you very much.

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