Stabilisation and association process for South-East Europe

Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like first to congratulate Mr Lagendijk on his report, which is, as always, a very comprehensive and balanced one. I do not, admittedly, agree with all the points he makes, but that is the way of things in politics.
As far as Kosovo is concerned, I am right alongside him when it comes to getting a final decision on its future as soon as possible. Any demand for one must be addressed to Kosovo´s government rather than to the Commission, for just as the report states and as we had confirmed to us recently in discussions in Albania, I am firmly convinced that the authorities in Kosovo are not doing enough. I am not saying that they are doing nothing, but they are not doing enough to make it clear that Kosovo is a multi-ethnic state, one that wants to adhere to European standards.
Commissioner Vitorino also referred to the issue of `standards before status´, which should be given practical expression by such things as the stipulation of more precise deadlines; it is, though, above all for the Albanian authorities in Kosovo to take the necessary action themselves. Whilst I personally favour independence, something has to be done to make it happen; it will not just be presented on a plate.
Turning to Montenegro and Serbia, I do in essence take the view that nobody can force them or anyone else to stay together. We have to consider whether the existence of so many small states there will make the process of integrating them into the European Union any easier. It will not be made any easier for the states, but, if that is what they absolutely want, then that is their decision, and they have to know what its consequences will be.
Finally, let me address a point to which Mr Lagendijk alluded in connection with one of my amendments. Had we been even only half as courageous, determined, and willing to implement our own decisions as the United States of America, we would have achieved more in the Balkans. Our problem is that we say things like `please´ and `if you would be so kind´ and `do something´, whereas the Americans lay down stringent conditions and say `yes´ or `no´. That is why I do not think we can accept the evident willingness of some states to comply with these conditions. As Mr Lagendijk himself mentioned, Croatia has not concluded the treaty that the United States wanted of them.
We must state loud and clear our view that we cannot simply relegate to the background the International Criminal Court, the case for which your group put to this House with such vigour. If you read the amendment, you will see that I do, in any case, draw a distinction whilst sticking to the view that membership is not a practical option, but saying no more than that one ought not actually to conclude any agreement. That is just an opinion of this House rather than an explicit condition. If we get to the point where draft treaties in respect of these countries are put before us, then we will in any case have to take a decision on their individual merits.
I do not think it right that we should retreat so far from a position of this House as made explicit in a motion, but I am still willing to accept a compromise. We should send the clear message that we attach great importance to this International Criminal Court especially in a region in which crimes are committed against human beings and contrary to human decency and that we ask all the states in this region not to play down the issue of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but to unambiguously affirm their political responsibility.