HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc1000-1W
Mr. Spring

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the accession process of the candidate countries for accession to the European Union under the Treaty of Nice; and what plans the Government have to ensure enlargement if the Republic of Ireland does not ratify the treaty. [29767]

Peter Hain

The Government believe that the Treaty of Nice is necessary to make enlargement a success. We understand that the Irish Government are considering how to address the concerns of the Irish people regarding the treaty. In the meantime, as agreed by all EU Governments, including the Irish Government, other member states are proceeding with their ratification processes. The Laeken European Council in December 2001 confirmed the EU's determination to complete negotiations with those candidates that are ready by the end of 2002 so that they can join the EU in time to participate in the 2004 European Parliament elections. The UK is fully committed to this goal.