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Plenary speech: This is a message to other countries of the Western Balkans

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Gunnar Hökmark´s speech in plenary 30/11 2011 on Croatia´s Accession to the European Union.

Madam President, I would like to thank the rapporteur, welcome Croatia and congratulate the European Union.

Tomorrow when we have the opportunity to vote for the accession of Croatia to the European Union, it will be an expression and a manifestation of ideas and of the strength of European cooperation. I regret that Mr Farage is not here any more, because he has a problem with Croatian membership. This membership is a message that European cooperation in the European Union has values which are more attractive than his policies. It underlines that we in a time of crisis are able to proceed with one of the miraculous efforts of the European Union – the enlargement which we have seen is building a stable democracy and open societies. With Croatia we will be able to take another step; making Europe better.

Croatia has become a better society and, through membership of the European Union, Croatian citizens will have the same opportunities as all other citizens of the European Union. It will make Europe better, but it will create better opportunities for all of us: Croatians, Swedes, Austrians and all others, who are taking part in this fantastic project. So tomorrow we will be manifesting the strength of the European Union in a time of economic crisis. I think that also underlines that there is room for optimism and there is also room for the message to other countries of the Western Balkans: when you reform, when you transform, when you develop, then we can all share peace, democracy and open societies.