Friday, February 09, 2007

Enlargement: when will it stop?

Having a quick look through Hansard today I found a question asking if the EU actually has any boundaries for enlargement. It's a relevant point, especially since the more countries who join the EU, the less power indiviual nations have to decide EU legislation, which supercedes national law, and also the more money they have to contribute to fund these much poorer countries. Let's have a look at the debate, shall we?

EU: Enlargement

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:In the light of the call by the Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, speaking at the Fabian Society on 24 January, for Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan to be considered for European Union membership, whether they have made an assessment of how far east and south the boundaries of the European Union should extend.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union states that any European country may apply for membership if it respects the principles of liberty,
democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. The Government believe that enlargement has proved our strongest tool for spreading stability and prosperity in Europe and that it is right to keep open the possibility of eventual membership for the European countries to the east and south of the EU, provided that they meet the membership conditions. My right honourable friend the Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, did not say that those countries should be “considered for EU membership”.

Well, that's nice to know.

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