Delivered in Plenary - March 11th 2003
I strongly believe that at least offering Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova prospects of potential long-term membership will encourage the necessary reforms needed in their economies, their systems of governance and human rights and also support those politicians and parties who share our values and aspirations.
Will Commissioner Prodi retract his statement - if it is true - that Ukraine is no more European than New Zealand? It was clearly seen by the Ukrainians as a geographical nonsense and a signal to their government that they were much better off making their bed with the Russian bear. Fortunately Russia does not want to join the European Union, but Ukraine does. We should not exclude this possibility, particularly if at the end of next year the Commission sanctions the much weaker case - to my mind - for Turkey's membership.
Can the Commission provide more funds to combat illegal immigration and border flows through these countries, irrespective of our disapproval of their governments in office at the moment?