HC Deb 01 March 1995 vol 255 cc1044-5
24. Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on possible future enlargement of the EU.

Mr. David Davis

Not everybody is allowed a second bite of the cherry, Madam Speaker. Further enlargement of the European Union is an essential element in the extension of security and prosperity to our east. We have also agreed that Malta and Cyprus will he involved in the next phase. That will all require institutional adjustments and policy reform both in the applicant countries and in the EU.

Mr. Winterton

I welcome my hon. Friend's response, but does he not accept that the accession of the Baltic states—Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia—to the European Union would be a most desirable step? Are we positively moving in that direction, and giving those three important countries the encouragement that they need?

Mr. Davis

The straight answer to my hon. Friend is yes. I believe that we shall discuss European association agreements with those countries in the near future, and that is the first step towards their eventually joining the European Union.

Mr. Cox

In view of what the Minister said about Cyprus, can he give the House any idea of the time span within which Cyprus, with its close association with this country, will be able to think that it will really be admitted to the Union?

Mr. Davis

As with all potential applicants to the Union, it is important first to meet the conditions for joining, both within the applicant country and within the Union. The latter will involve modifications to the constitution of the Union itself. The hon. Gentleman will know that under the current French presidency there is a major initiative to attempt to clear the way for Cyprus to join the Union. We are all watching that initiative for signs of success.

Mr. Bill Walker

When my hon. Friend meets with those nation states that wish to become a part of the European Union, will he take the opportunity to remind them of the experience of Germany and the United Kingdom of operating a single currency, which involved moving large sums of money from the wealthy areas to the poor areas while moving large numbers of people from the poor areas to the wealthy areas?

Mr. Davis

I am not aware that we have had any experience of a single currency.

Mr. Trimble

Will the Minister confirm that—as things stand at the moment—it would be contrary to the independence treaty between Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom which established the Republic of Cyprus for Cyprus to accede to the European Community?

Mr. Davis

The initiative being taken by the French presidency is an attempt to bring together the Turks, Greeks and Cypriots to achieve Cyprus's entry to the European Union, and the initiative will deal with the problem to which the hon. Gentleman refers.