HC Deb 11 March 1998 vol 308 cc257-8W
Mr. Ben Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he will take at the forthcoming conference on European enlargement to improve Turkish/EU relations and to make provision for Turkey to be among the group of countries making active preparations for EU membership. [33699]

Mr. Doug Henderson

The Luxembourg Council in December 1997 decided that Turkey was eligible to participate in the European Conference. The Turkish Government have decided not to attend the inaugural meeting of the Conference on 12 March, but I hope they will join us at future events.

The Luxembourg Council also agreed to develop a strategy to help prepare Turkey for accession by bringing it closer to the European Union in every field. I welcome the Commission's proposals for taking this forward. I hope they can be implemented as quickly as possible.

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