HC Deb 28 June 2001 vol 370 c167W
Mr. Spring

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on(a) the conclusions of the Gothenburg Summit as they relate to the Irish referendum on the Nice treaty and (b) how the process of enlargement will be pursued. [858]

Peter Hain

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 are 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.