Minister Treacy comments on EU enlargement and the negotiations with Turkey
The Minister for European Affairs, Mr Noel Treacy T.D. has said that further EU enlargement can have an important role to play in “ensuring the future security and prosperity” of Europe. “That is not to say that this process should be rushed. It must not be. The priority is to get the enlargement process right. We need to take our time on this. Ultimately public opinion will be the true limit to the expansion of the EU. The people of Europe must have a sense that enlargement is being managed responsibly. This can only be done by providing more information on the process,” the Minister said.
The Minister was speaking at a public debate entitled: “Enlargement, how much further” organised by the European Movement Ireland and NUI Galway on Tuesday evening. Minister Treacy made the point that “the EU must be able to function properly if it is to continue to deliver for its citizens. Institutional reform should not be seen purely in terms of enlargement, but as being necessary for the basic health of the Union.”
He identified seven countries which have “a real prospect of joining the EU in the coming decades”: Turkey, Croatia and the remaining 5 countries of the Western Balkans. The Minister highlighted the positive effect the enlargement process could have on the Balkans. “To successfully achieve peace in the Balkans will be as great an achievement as bringing France and Germany together was in the past.”
Minister Treacy described Turkey's negotiations for EU membership as: “a positive expression of the coexistence of cultures, and of how the western and Islamic worlds can relate to each other in a collaborative, cooperative manner in the future”. He added that, to keep the process on track, Turkey will have to show a renewed commitment to both its internal reforms and to the normalisation of its relations with Cyprus. He said that a Turkey which respects and upholds the principles and values to which we adhere is of vital interest to the EU and to Europe as a whole. Minister Treacy added that the key to Turkish membership will be conditionality. Turkey will have to meet all of its commitments and all of the membership criteria in full.
14 November 2006