Mr. László BORBÉLY, Political Vice-President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania and Chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies has attended the Meeting of the Chairpersons of the Committees on Foreign Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union and the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy in Vilnius, on 27-28 November 2013.
On November 28, 2013, Mr. László Borbély has delivered the following speech in the First Session of the Meeting: “The European Union Eastern Partnership: Towards more ambitious cooperation”:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's a special day for us as we hear the confirmation from H.E. Mr. Igor Corman that the Republic of Moldova is due to initial the Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union tomorrow and that the European Commission will initiate legislation to lift the Visas for Moldovan citizens.
Romania supports the Republic of Moldova on its path towards the European Union, and has also supported this country in the past as well. So, we welcome and we are very happy for Moldova's decision as both agreements and the Visa Liberation are of a very high importance for this country.
Nonetheless, we must admit that today the EU is under pressure within and outside its borders. Inside, its own citizens are questioning its legitimacy motivated both by political and economic reasons (as for the first time in history the EU budget is smaller than the previous year’s one) and, outside its borders, the countries that are trying to join the EU’s sphere of influence are increasingly and openly under pressure by the Russian Federation trying and seemingly succeeding to reinforce its power in the Eurasian Region. This is a wake-up call for the EU’s foreign policy as the Union cannot afford to lose ground in Europe.
The EU has a huge responsibility towards the peoples of the continent in their battle and aspiration for democracy based on the promise of “Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity” made by the EU. Thus, the EU must rethink its accession and association policy and leave behind the elitist approach of an exclusivist club of the wealthy and healthy economies and dare risk to open up towards other countries, in order to create - on the long term - an even wider space of freedom and democracy on the European continent and in its neighbourhood.
Also, the people of Ukraine must not give up their aspiration for freedom, an aspiration which over two decades ago made them split away from the Soviet Union and a few years ago triggered the Orange Revolution.
Indeed, the EU is in a crisis and denying it does not help, but recognizing it and treating it as an opportunity for renewal is the only solution for the way forward. Remember, the Chinese symbol for “crisis” also means “opportunity”! So, we need to see this time of crisis as an opportunity to actually re-form and re-shape the European Union in order to address the challenge of internal disintegration and world-wide freedom and democracy.
Because in a world without a unified and strong Europe, committed to the values of democracy, freedom and human rights, we have every ground to fear for the future of democracy in the world.
The Nobel Price for Peace obliges us. There is no other way than that of freedom and civil rights and Europe can only defend these values if united!”