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Contribution for the discussion on Commission statement - Stocktaking of the Prodi Commission

Dr.Laima Andrikiene, MEP
EPP-ED, Lithuania

EP Plenary Session, Brussels
October 13, 2004

Thank you, Mr. President!

The European Commission under Romano Prodi leadership is finishing its term. Yes, it is true that during the term in office of this particular Commission the largest EU enlargement has been carried out successfully, and my homeland - Lithuania - became a full-fledged member of the European Union. Most likely, in the near future the name of Romano Prodi will be in the textbooks of Lithuanian children.

Nevertheless, I would like to add a few comments about one of the Commission's responsibilities - external relations and especially European Neighbourhood Policy, mentioned by Mr. Prodi today. The policy which is of a greatest importance seeking to extend the area of peace and stability in Europe, not just to extend borders of the EU.

It is the fact that sometimes our neighbours are countries of, I quote "highly developed bureaucracy and controlled democracy" like Russians themselves explain situation in their homeland; sometimes these are countries where human rights are undermined and violated every day, like in Belarus.

European Parliament in its resolution on EU Russia policy stated that EU Russia policy is far from being enough: objectives are not clearly defined, there is a lack of internal coherence, interests and values are not effectively promoted.

Speaking about Belarus, when one look at the figures of financial assistance for strengthening democracy in Belarus, to guarantee civil and human rights and compare the USA and the EU, one might have serious doubts whether Belarus is on the Eastern border of the USA or the EU.

I would add Moldova to this list having in mind that until now there is no permanent EU representative office in this country, only six EU member states have their embassies in comparison to the presence of EU representatives in many countries, which are quite distanced from the EU and are not very important players at all.

I would like to finish by saying that I sincerely wish that the Lisbon strategy with all high expectations would not become just an Unfinished European Project, as has happened to some promising strategies in the past.

I wish all the members of the outgoing Commission all the best. Thank you.