§ Lord Moynihan
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they anticipate that the enlargement process will be delayed as a result of the Irish referendum rejecting the Nice Treaty; and [HL47]
Whether they will consider the renegotiation of any part of the Nice Treaty, in particular those parts that do not relate to the enlargement process, as a result of the rejection of the Treaty in the Irish referendum; and [HL48]
How they intend to achieve "rapid progress on the enlargement of the European Union" in light of the Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty. [HL49]
§ The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
The 11 June General Affairs Council expressed regret at the result of the Irish referendum on the Treaty of Nice, while respecting the will of the Irish people. The GAC noted that the Irish Government is deeply and firmly committed to the EU and to the ratification of the Treaty of Nice. The Fourteen expressed their readiness to contribute in every possible way to help the Irish Government find a way forward, taking into account the concerns reflected by this result, without reopening the text of the Nice Treaty.
The Gothenburg European Council confirmed these conclusions, and reaffirmed that the ratification process for the Treaty of Nice will continue so that the Union is in a position to welcome new member states from the end of 2002.
Heads of State and Government also agreed that, provided progress towards meeting the accession criteria continues at an unabated pace, the enlargement road map should make it possible to complete negotiations by the end of 2002 for those candidate countries that are ready. The objective is that they should participate in the 2004 European Parliament elections as members.