What recent assessment he has made of the prospects for enlargement of the European Union; and if he will make a statement.
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We strongly support further enlargement of the European Union but also believe that countries that want to join must clearly meet the membership criteria. We welcome the progress made during the Spanish EU presidency, including the decision to open negotiations with Iceland, and the progress on accession negotiations with both Croatia and Turkey.
Rather than encouraging an enlargement of the EU, will the coalition Government consider helping to reduce its size by holding a referendum that would allow the British people the opportunity to decide whether we remain a member of the EU?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. We believe that EU enlargement, which has been championed by the Governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, as well as by the Labour Governments of Tony Blair and Mr Brown, has entrenched democracy, human rights and the rule of law in central and eastern Europe in a way that was not achieved throughout the 20th century.
The matter that the hon. Gentleman has raised relates very much to the work of our consular department rather than to the enlargement process, but I will take advice from consular officials and write to him about the detailed matter that he has raised.