Responding to the publication of the European Commission’s Annual Enlargement Package this morning, the Minister for Europe said:
“I very much welcome Commissioner Fule’s launch of the Commission’s Annual Enlargement Package earlier today and the work of the Commission in preparing these reports. Over the coming days the UK government will be looking carefully at the detail of the enlargement strategy, individual country progress reports and the Commission’s recommendations.
These reports are of crucial importance: enlargement is one of the EU’s greatest achievements and remains a priority for the UK. The future of all the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland lies in the EU and we remain strong supporters of this future.
I also welcome the strategy’s focus on the rule of law: tackling these issues early is fundamental to maintaining the credibility and momentum of an enlargement process based on strict but fair conditionality.
I would encourage all countries to acknowledge and take early steps to address any areas identified in the reports as needing further progress: we look forward to working together with them as they continue their journeys towards the European Union.”