The House of Lords Committee reassert the importance of further EU expansion based on the principles of building economic growth and increasing European security. However, we stress that future new EU Members must comply fully with the values of the EU, including respect for democracy and human rights.
The Committee warn that the European Council and Member States cannot afford to ignore the enlargement agenda. The report considers the impact of EU enlargement on both economic growth and the stability and security of the EU's neighbourhood. The Committee also consider the increasing 'nationalisation' of the enlargement process and how the EU and the Commission should tackle bilateral issues, such as the 'name issue' between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Commenting, Lord Boswell, Chairman of the European Union Committee, said:
"EU enlargement provides benefits for both existing and new Member States. However, with the current economic difficulties in Europe, it has become less of a priority.
"It is important the EU does not lose sight of the benefits enlargement can bring. The UK, for example, aims to export its way out of recession and a larger single market can only help that effort.
"It is also vital that the EU abides by its own rules when taking in new members. We believe the Copenhagen criteria set the bar at the right level and they must be properly applied to any future candidates for EU membership. Failure to do this in the case of Bulgaria and Romania led to a scramble to bring those countries up to speed after accession. That cannot be allowed to happen again."