The European Commission’s Annual Enlargement Package, which contains the EU’s Enlargement Strategy 2014-15 and Country Progress Reports for each enlargement country, was published on 8 October.
Responding to the publication, the Minister for Europe David Lidington said:
The UK has long been a strong supporter of enlargement of the European Union as a driver of peace, prosperity and reform across our continent. We remain strong supporters of enlargement, provided of course that candidate countries only join the EU when they have met in full all the conditions and standards for doing so. At the same time, we recognise that many across Europe have been concerned by the large-scale movement of people that has followed the accession of new countries to the EU and this issue needs to be addressed before any more members join.
This is a debate the Prime Minister initiated last year and I am pleased that the Commission has taken it up, committing today to examine “the possible need for and nature of transitional measures and/or a safeguard mechanism on the free movement of workers” in future enlargement. This is further evidence that we are working with partners to shape the debate about the future of Europe and to ensure that it addresses issues that matter to citizens.
Mr Lidington took the opportunity of the report’s publication to thank departing Commissioner Štefan Füle and welcome his successor, Commissioner designate Johannes Hahn:
I would like to extend my warm appreciation to the departing Commissioner Štefan Füle, whose strong advocacy of enlargement and commitment to tackling “fundamentals first” in accession negotiations has ensured the enlargement process is focussed on the right priorities, such as the rule of law. He leaves a robust legacy. I welcome his successor Commissioner designate Johannes Hahn, whose stewardship will be important.
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