Anyway, Lord Stoddart of Swindon (for it is he again) asked the following question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 17 June (WA 37), which third countries envisage joining the European Union; and what assessment they have made of the impact of further European Union enlargement, particularly on the financing of the European Union and migration.Seems reasonable. After all, we ought to know whatever we may think on the subject.
Sadly, Baroness Warsi's minions do not agree. It is, of course, possible that they do not know the answer themselves.
Six countries currently have been awarded Candidate Status by the European Union (EU). Of these, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are currently in accession negotiations. Iceland has suspended its accession negotiations. Macedonia is a candidate country but has not yet opened accession negotiations. Last month, the European Council endorsed the decision to grant Candidate Status to Albania. Two further countries are recognised as potential candidates. These are Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.It is also true that the next stage of enlargement, if it ever happens, is so far away that not many people are worried about it. No doubt, some eurosceptics are hoping that Vlad will send his troops (assuming he can drum up enough, which seems questionable) to invade all these countries thus solving our problems.
The current governments of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have all publicly expressed an interest in joining the EU.
The accession process is a lengthy one, involving detailed negotiation of 35 Chapters of the EU Acquis, with candidate countries required to adapt their administrative and institutional infrastructures and bring their national legislation into line with EU legislation in these areas. Financing of the EU and migration will be addressed at several stages in this process, notably in EU Common Positions and related impact assessments by the European Commission on Chapter 2 (Free Movement of Workers), Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) and 33 (Financial and Budgetary Provisions). We welcome the emphasis that EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fule, has placed upon economic governance in the enlargement process, which should increase economic convergence between accession countries and the EU and reduce migratory pressures.
The UK has not produced national impact assessments on EU enlargement in addition to the European Commission’s own impact assessments. As part of the Government’s review of the balance of competences with the European Union, however, reports are due to be published on enlargement and free movement of persons.