Written Answers. - European Union Enlargement.

Noel Davern


15 Mr. Davern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the approach the Government will take regarding the expansion of the European Union during its forthcoming Presidency. [8314/96]

The Government's approach on enlargement of the European Union is set out in its White Paper on Foreign PolicyChallenges and Opportunities Abroad published last month.

In keeping with this policy, the ongoing process of developing the EU's relations with the applicant countries in the perspective of future enlargement will be an important priority of our Presidency.

In this connection, an extensive series of joint meetings at ministerial level between EU Ministers and their counterparts from the associated countries will be held during the Irish Presidency, under the multilateral structured dialogue arrangements in place between the Union and the applicants. These arrangements are of central importance to the Union's strategy for preparing the applicant countries for eventual accession.

The joint ministerial meetings will address issues of common concern to the Union and the applicants across a range of Community areas; in Common Foreign and Security Policy as well as in Justice and Home Affairs.

Discussions between the Heads of State or Government of the applicant countries and the members of the European Council are also envisaged on the occasion of the European Council meeting in Dublin in December.

At the level of the EU's bilateral relations with individual applicant countries, meetings of the EU — Poland and EU — Hungary Association Councils as provided for under the Europe Agreements with these countries will take place during the Irish Presidency.
The Irish Presidency will also be responsible for the efficient and effective management of day-to-day aspects of the EU's relations with the applicant countries.