Skip to main content

Eu Enlargement

Volume 597: debated on Thursday 25 February 1999

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Answer given by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 9 February (H. L. Deb., cols. 100–101), whether they have carried out any objective research as to whether it would be in the interests of the Central and Eastern European countries to have full membership of the European Union; and (b) whether in so doing they have considered the arguments advanced in the book,

The Poisoned Chalice. [HL1073]

Enlargement is in the interest of the whole of Europe, including the current member states and the applicant states. It will not only reinforce peace, stability, democracy and freedom, but create the largest single market for trade and investment in the world. But, as I underlined in the Lords on 9 February, it is for the applicants themselves to judge if it is in their interest to join the European Union. The current applicant states have judged in favour of accession to the European Union. We are confident that the benefits of enlargement will significantly outweigh the costs.Publications like

A Coming Home or a Poisoned Chalice have helpfully identified a number of the practical difficulties that will need to be addressed to make enlargement a success. We do not share the authors' pessimism about the enlargement process, but accept the necessity of avoiding any kind of second class of membership and of dealing with EU reforms before the first accessions.