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 can assure the hon. Lady that the applicant countries must meet the full acquis of the European Union. At the point of membership, they must either be fully in conformity with all existing regulations or have tight and well-defined limits on the transition periods to achieving that. Enlargement is important precisely because the environmental standards of some central and eastern European countries are well below those of western Europe. We stand to lose as a result of the pollution and environmental hazards in those countries, so it is in our interests to bring them into the European Union and up to our standards.