Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Enlargement: policies, criteria and the EU's strategic interests

Delivered in Plenary - 21st November 2012

Mr President

The ECR Group is of the view that EU enlargement is a success story, but we also support a more flexible, variable EU geometry in any new proposed future European Union treaty allowing some countries to integrate further than others.

As countries develop politically and economically, it is perfectly correct and right that they should be able to contribute to the EU and share in the EU citizens’ prosperity, and in my role as rapporteur for Montenegro, an EU candidate, I have witnessed first hand that country’s strides towards eventual accession, although it looks as if its entry into the EU will not be for at least another ten years.

Other countries such as Serbia and Macedonia are also making great progress and deserve to be included in our club, although a solution must clearly be found for the Greek veto on Macedonia’s name question. Other general issues such as corruption and organised crime must also be tackled in the Western Balkans, but we can look forward to good news stories as well. Croatia’s entry next year is to be welcomed and if little Iceland’s electorate votes to join the EU, then we will be happy to see them in the EU fold as well. An economic block of over 30 countries in the future, with more than 500 million people, would be a serious force to be reckoned with in the world.