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Speech at the debate in Parliament before the EU-summit

I believe that one of the responsibilities of the Finnish Presidency and of the Commission is to underline what we have achieved this autumn under the Finnish Presidency. We have a new seventh Framework Programme, we have finalised our decision-making with regard to REACH and the Services Directive. That is a change of some magnitude and it is making Europe better. We have prepared enlargement for Romania and Bulgaria and have appointed new Commissioners. Slovenia will enter the euro cooperation. It is a significant moment in the development of the European Union. Does that make Europe worse? Does that make people feel threatened? Of course not. It makes Europe better for its citizens. That is the situation. If we say that clearly and loudly people will also see the rationality of the changes we are making. That should be the responsibility not only of Mr Rasmussen but also of the European Council and the summit meeting.

Regarding enlargement, let us say loudly and clearly that we are laying down tough criteria while making it credible that those who fulfil them can be members. The Presidency should lay the groundwork for a new policy with Russia – firm but open, open but firm. We need Russia for energy security but we also need to apply stringent rules and a firm policy regarding democracy and respect for fundamental human rights. That is the way it should be and that is what we should hope for in this final meeting with the Finnish Presidency.

You have done a good job and you can do even better in the coming days.