Towards a stronger South-East Europe Today, with the accession of the 10 new Member States to the EU, a pivotal step for the European integration process has been taken. However, we should keep in mind that the process is by no means over. We encourage Bulgaria and Romania to strengthen their efforts to meet their target date of joining the EU in 2007. Nevertheless, we should not forget that for some countries this process is still at a very early stage. A clear message needs to be sent that the integration process is still underway and that South-East Europe should profit from and follow the example of our 10 new partners. Particular emphasis has to be put on cooperation based on good neighbourliness, the inviolability of borders, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for democratic values and the rule of law. The main aim of the next rounds of enlargement should be to make both war and the use of force unthinkable in SouthEast Europe. It is crystal clear that contributing to regional stability and promoting ‘good neighborly relations’ are critical preconditions for any aspirant country.
understanding, and we can ensure the success of further cooperation and engagement in the region. Certainly, the countries of the region need to take their own future in their own hands. However, the example of the EU has proved that closer cooperation is the only way forward. The need to expand regional cooperation is paramount. This goal can only be achieved if we all work towards the alleviation of harmful and unjustified suspicion. The European People’s Party can keep up the momentum of cooperation and consultation, offer solutions that have been tested in the EU countries and enhance the bonds between the EU and an important part of our continent.
Kostas Karamanlis is the Prime Minister of Greece.
Despite all the efforts that have been made so far and the undoubtedly substantial results, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Indeed, the struggle for an even better and well-functioning democracy is a never-ending process, and the efforts required are never ending as well. We should therefore continue to help the region in any way we can. Crime, human trafficking, corruption and, of course, the great burden of unemployment continue to plague these societies and to undermine the prospects for stability and growth. Our conviction, however, is that we can effectively meet the challenges and tackle the problems. The EPP has, on numerous occasions in the past, stressed the importance that it attaches to the Western Balkans’ European perspective. The EPP’s valuable legacy and its experience is that different perspectives can powerfully enrich our family. We have achieved a common Volume 3 - Spring 2006
European View_Transnational parties and european democracy