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Press Release
Nicolas Schmit to the European Parliament: "Bulgaria and Romania’s accession represents a new stage in the unification of the European continent."

Date of release : 12-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : Plenary session of the European Parliament

During the plenary session of the European Parliament held in Strasbourg on 12 April 2005, the Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Nicolas Schmit, spoke on behalf of the Presidency of the European Union during the joint discussion on Parliament’s reports regarding Bulgaria and Romania’s applications for accession.

According to Article 49 of the European Union Treaty, the European Parliament must approve each stage of enlargement. Following the joint discussions on these two reports, Parliament will decide on whether to approve Bulgaria and Romania on Wednesday, 13 April.

In his speech, Nicolas Schmit stated that by giving its approval, the European Parliament would enable the Union "to begin a new stage in the unification of our continent. First and foremost, the accession of these two countries to the Union means approval of its values, of the European model to which all European citizens are attached. Our most noble ambition, shared by the citizens of these two countries after five decades of terrible oppression, is specifically to root these countries in these values."

By restating that these two countries were fully involved in drafting the treaty that created a constitution for Europe, the minister emphasised that these values are confirmed in the European Constitution. "What determined European, who wishes to advance Europe down the path of democracy and human rights, not to mention social rights, can reasonably take the risk of rejecting the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which marks a fundamental step in the construction of our Europe, a Europe based on shared values?"

Nicolas Schmit pointed out that "in its latest regular reports, the European Commission deemed that, in light of the progress made and the results obtained towards implementing the commitments and preparatory work underway, Bulgaria and Romania should be ready to accede to the European Union on 1 January 2007."

The Minister stated "that there is no short cut along the path to accession ... The European Union will continue to support Bulgaria’s and Romania’s preparations using all available means ... I can assure you that that Luxembourg Presidency takes the monitoring work very seriously. It is in the vital interests of these two countries to truly be ready."

On this note, Nicolas Schmit repeated the Presidency’s statement regarding implementing the safeguard clauses, if necessary: "In light of the European Parliament’s approval of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania acceding to the European Union, should the Commission recommend that the Council implement one of the safeguard clauses contained in the Accession Treaty, the Council will decide on this matter in due consideration of the European Parliament’s position."

For Nicolas Schmit, "this accession will be the culmination of the process we initiated together in Luxembourg in 1997. Sixteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the European Parliament’s approval, this grand plan for peace and democracy will successfully pass into a new stage."

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This page was last modified on : 13-04-2005

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