Tal och debatter i plenum

Onsdagen den 20 januari 2010 – Inlägg i debatten om Turkiet

- Madam President, I wish to start by welcoming the statements by the Commission and the Council and to thank, congratulate and salute Commissioner Olli Rehn for his personal commitment to the membership of Turkey in the European Union.

EU-Turkey relations go back a long way and are mutually beneficial. Like other candidate countries, of course, Turkey also has to comply with the principles of democracy, freedom and human rights and to adopt its legislative system to the acquis communautaire . I would like to join my colleagues who have welcomed the progress made by Turkey so far, but also to recognise that a number of hindrances remain on Turkey’s road to accession: freedom of expression and the rights of the Kurdish minority, described by colleagues, are examples.

I wish also to express my concern in relation to the decision by the Turkish Constitutional Court to close the Democratic Society Party and to ban a number of its democratically elected representatives, but this should not be a reason to delay the accession negotiations with Turkey. The European perspective is a driving force for democratic reforms. The lack of our commitment would send a negative signal to the Turkish people. Our uncertainty has a cost. It could undermine the democratic process under way. EU policy should never be driven by fear. We Europeans should support the reforms. They will take time, they will be complex and there will be setbacks, but we should never waver on the Copenhagen criteria. We should never waver on our commitment to Turkey’s membership. There has to be a clear light at the end of the tunnel.

That is why I call on Turkey to continue its process of democratic reforms. I think we should pledge to support them on this path.

Onsdagen den 16 december 2009- Inlägg i debatten om det Svenska ordförandeskapet

Mr President, I would like to congratulate the Swedish Presidency for the vision of a citizen-centred Europe laid down in the Stockholm Programme. We can never underline enough the historic importance of finally having a vision that meets our citizens’ concerns for security and at the same time for respecting individual rights. Finally we can move forward to a Europe for the citizen, by the citizen.

I also would like to welcome the Asylum Support Office, which is an important and concrete step towards meeting the concerns of countries that want to fight illegal immigration while at the same time providing for a more humane migration policy. The Stockholm Programme will remain with us for five years, and I hope we can move forward to implementation. I thank the Swedish Presidency. Your footprint will remain with us for five years.

Onsdag den 16 december 2009 – Ordningsfråga

Mr President, I have noticed that you have given almost one minute more speaking time to some of our colleagues. I would like to remind you that we from small countries, as newly elected Members, have only one strict minute for ‘catch the eye’, and this time has been taken away from our opportunity to express our views. Please respect us as well.

Tisdagen den 24 november 2009 – inlägg i debatten om Stockholmsprogrammet

Mr President, first I would like to welcome the Stockholm Programme as the best way forward to a citizen-centred Europe, and to thank both Minister Ask and Minister Billström for their vision. Finally we can go home and tell everybody, without distinction, that Europe is for them; Europe is with them; Europe is us.

Of course, the Stockholm Programme will be what we make it. Let us give it a chance. Let us support it as broadly as possible and get down to work to implement it.

I would like to say a special thank you for the focus on children, which means that we can finally work on enhanced action to protect children, including migrant children. It is also very good that we have a greater possibility to combat cross-border criminality while respecting individual rights.

Torsdagen den 12 november 2009 – inlägg i debatten om viseringsfrihet för Västra Balkan

Mr President, I would just like to say that it is regrettable that the Swedish Presidency could not be represented here today at the appropriate ministerial level, because it has not been invited.

The Swedish Presidency negotiated the joint declaration, which is the main political success in the field of visa liberalisation. We owe this to the Presidency, but do not even have the possibility to say thank you. I would like to put on the record the fact that the Council Presidency is not here not because it does not want to be, but because it has not been afforded a welcome.

Onsdagen den 11 november 2009 – inlägg i debatten om viseringsfrihet för Västra Balkan

Madam President, it is regrettable that the Swedish Presidency could not be represented here tonight in the person of a Minister, as it would very much have liked.

I understand that the Council Presidency was not invited and was told there was no need for it to be here. I would like to remind the House that the Swedish Presidency has driven and supported the process of visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans from the very beginning.

We should – and I know my colleague Tanja Fajon, the rapporteur, agrees with me – have a chance to thank the Council Presidency, for we owe it the joint declaration between Parliament and the Council, supported by the Commission, which is unique in the history of this institution.

I would like an explanation, though maybe not here and now, of why the Council Presidency could not attend, and I would like it to go on the record that the Minister could not be here because no invitation was made.

Onsdagen den 11 november 2009 – inlägg i debatten om viseringsfrihet för Västra Balkan

Madam President, the PPE Group is committed to speeding up visa liberalisation for all countries in the Western Balkans by July 2010. We welcome and support the proposal to grant visa liberalisation for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia by Christmas this year.

We understand the plea of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania – a young generation which has been locked in and left out and feels imprisoned. To them we say, ‘We are on your side; we are ready when you are ready’. It is regrettable that the slow start by the authorities in Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina left them behind. The responsibility for any delays rests with them. We exhort them to meet the benchmarks as soon as possible. We know that the Commission is helping in that process.

Unfortunately, I have to say that I am saddened that it took us three months of negotiations for the PPE Group to convince the political Left in this House to operate according to the Treaties. Is that so complicated? Finally, it too has understood that the European Parliament is not above the law.

With all respect to my distinguished colleagues, I have to denounce a non-constructive attitude. There are no short cuts. There is no abracadabra. We are not here to score points. We are here to obtain results for the citizens of the Balkans. Let me be clear, any provisional mixed intermediary status does not accelerate the process and does not put pressure on the Commission or the Council. It definitely does not send any strong political message.

I would like to conclude by saying that I experienced the siege of Sarajevo and the shelling for a year and a half. To my friends there I am saying that I am committed.

Onsdagen den 16 september 2009 – inlägg i debatten om viseringsfrihet för Västra Balkan

Madam President, today we in the EPP say to the people of Bosnia, of Albania and of Serbia: you are not forgotten; we have not abandoned you. We understand, especially to the people of Sarajevo, your frustration. But at the same time we say to the people of the European Union, we will not bend the benchmarks. The rules have to be the same for everybody. Your security is important for us.

Mainly we say to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina: take your responsibilities; put your house in order; do your homework. We appreciate the progress that has been achieved recently. We will ask the Commission to continue to support you but if I have learned anything in my six years of the wars and peace in the Balkans, and believe me this is an issue very close to my heart, victimism, the blame game and scapegoating belong to the past.

This is an issue of European integration. We have to look at this from a European perspective and, as Mrs Cecilia Malmström said, the best way to start the U-turn that is needed to go from dependence and victimism is for them to take the country into their hands, and to start those visa reforms which are badly needed and necessary anyway.

I hope we can agree on a clear message to the authorities in the region that we will support them but we will not compromise on the security of our citizens – that they have to take their responsibilities.

I think we should support the Commission proposal, and, to those who think that this could be destabilising, I would like to say that stability will come with European integration. It is very unfortunate that passports are issued in Zagreb and in Belgrade, and we should definitely try to reduce that as much as possible but we cannot make different rules for the Bosnian people. It is not in their interest.

What we can do is to do our part in this Parliament to accelerate the process and make a decision, make our policy so that the Council can take a decision within this year.

Tisdagen den 15 september 2009 – inlägg i debatten om Stockholmsprogrammet och migration

Mr President, it is a great joy for me to take the floor for the first time in this Plenary to commend Minister Tobias Billström for his deep understanding – and, as an Italian national originally, I am in a position to say that – of the grave situation facing the Mediterranean people and countries.

I would like to welcome his efforts to reach a consensus for a common European migration policy, which is very much needed. I would also like to welcome his initiative for the asylum support officer, which is a very practical and concrete way to support Member States who feel burdened and to start cooperation among Member States.

I would like to ask Minister Billström if, other than the measures he has already talked about, he could maybe elaborate further, from a long-term point of view, about what measures we can take to support the Mediterranean countries and people, with his approach, which balances humanity, solidarity and firmness against any form of illegality.