Europe: Cook warns EU of sacrifices ahead
The alternative would be to allow the divisions of the last 40 years to fester; to replace the Iron Curtain with "a Velvet Curtain separating the haves from the have-nots". Addressing the Hungarian Parliament at the start of a visit to prepare for the launch next year of EU membership negotiations with Hungary, Poland the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia, the Foreign Secretary stressed the reforms which must be tackled by applicant states.
But equally, he said, the EU would have to confront its own problems, even if that entailed sacrifices. "Without reform, enlargement will remain beyond reach. And for reform to happen, we will all have to accept that our common interest in a modernised and expanded union outweighs narrow national interests".
The Foreign Secretary's remarks signal the Government's willingness to promote not only "Agenda 2000", the package of reforms to the EU's expensive agriculture and regional-development policies, but also a shake-up of the bloc's outdated decision-making machinery.
Limiting the size of the policy-steering Commission, and reweighting the votes of individual governments in the law-making Council of Ministers are both viewed as pre-conditions to enlargement but heads of government ducked them when they were negotiating the Treaty of Amsterdam last June.
Mr Cook's speech in Budapest was calculated to convey a message of complete and unequivocal British support for enlargement. The "prize" would be peace and stability but also the ability to tackle organised crime, drug- trafficking and pollution. It would also open up trade opportunities, with a free market stretching "from Budapest to Birmingham".
Enlargement to Eastern Europe was also the policy championed by the Conservatives, who saw widening Europe as an opportunity to stymie any further moves to federalism.
Mr Cook sought, however, to draw a clear distinction between the two approaches, stressing to Hungarian leaders that Britain under Labour stood a much better chance of being able to deliver. "As a result of having respect inside the European Union, we can be a more effective ally to our friends outside." The claim that Labour's "fresh start" with Britain's EU partners has been paying off in terms of influence appeared to have been successfully conveyed in Budapest. Gyula Horn, Hungary's Prime Minister, said he welcomed the new government's backing for enlargement "for its own sake and not merely to avoid deepening which was the attitude of its predecessor".
- 1 Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Californian drought is so severe it's 'causing the ground to move'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...