Dáil Éireann - Volume 457 - 18 October, 1995

Written Answers. - European Union Enlargement.

56. Mr. Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the indepth study, if any, he has initiated into the implications of the enlargement of the European Union. [11740/95]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): The Deputy will be aware that the European Council meeting held in Essen — December 1994 — requested the Commission to submit as quickly as possible its detailed analysis of the effects of enlargement in the context of the Union's current policies and their future development. In addition it called on the Commission to submit, in 1995, a study of means of developing relations between the EU and the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe — CEECs — in the agriculture sector with a view to their future accession. The results of these indepth studies are awaited. It is expected that the report on EU-CEEC relations in the agriculture sector will be available before the end of the year. Last July, the Commission published detailed reports on the agriculture sector in each of the associated countries.

The policy implications of future enlargement of course will be addressed in the forthcoming Government White Paper on Foreign Policy in the context [435] of our preparations for the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference. In addition, and in so far as agriculture is concerned, future enlargement will also be addressed in a study currently being undertaken by a number of leading Irish agriculture economic experts, being supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in conjunction with the Farmers' Journal and the Agricultural Credit Corporation.

Given the importance to Ireland of the issues raised by future enlargement, I arranged some time ago to put in place an Inter-departmental Committee, chaired by my Department, which is mandated, inter alia, to continuously monitor the position in regard to EU relations with the CEECs and to analyse relevant positions and papers advanced by the EU institutions and other bodies from the standpoint of their implications for Ireland.