EU Enlargement

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th April 1998.

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Photo of Robin Cook Robin Cook Foreign Secretary 12:00 am, 7th April 1998

I am not sure how the hon. Gentleman has spent the past year; the thrust of Government policy is to decentralise rather than to over-centralise, in plain contrast to the policy of the previous Conservative Government. As to lack of democracy, more people have attended open meetings of European Union Councils in Brussels in the first half of the British presidency than ever attended such meetings in the whole of any previous presidency. We have already set a new record for openness.

I warmly welcome the words of the Polish Foreign Minister on returning to Warsaw—that he strongly supports the new central role that Britain is playing in Europe. If the hon. Gentleman listened to those in government in Poland, he would find that they regard his view of the EU as wholly wrong; they will carry their people with them.