European Union (Accessions) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 7th February 2006.

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Photo of Lord Biffen Lord Biffen Conservative 3:15 pm, 7th February 2006

My Lords, my noble friend who spoke from the Opposition Front Bench said that it was important to keep Parliament informed as the negotiations proceed. I want to raise a narrow point that has not been mentioned hitherto in these debates. I refer to the unhappy decision to call off the proposed visit of Romanian parliamentarians by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. I make no comment on the wisdom or otherwise of that decision, except to say that, ironically, it is extremely unhappy that, at a time when we ought to be able to inform ourselves of what the challenges might be for us, we should not be able to understand further what the upheavals that will inevitably follow within the administrations of Romania and Bulgaria will mean. My request of the Minister is that the Foreign Office will do all that it can to facilitate visits from those countries, obviously with co-operation from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and see that the visit from Romania will be reinstated as speedily as possible.