Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-06-23-Speech-4-066"

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"Mr President, Mr President of the Commission, Mr Blair, the European Union’s Heads of State or Government have prescribed a period of reflection, and you are participating in it by deferring the United Kingdom’s referendum. It is because I know from my own experience that the enlargement issue played a particular part in the debate around the referenda in France and the Netherlands that I believe that the present period of reflection must include consideration of it. What we have here is a new situation. After adopting the Treaty of Nice, we discovered that it would not function adequately if we had 25 or 28 Member States, and so we summoned a convention and compiled a draft Constitution, which you, Mr Blair, support. We know too, though, that there is no very great likelihood of this draft Constitution seeing the light of day in its present form. That is what makes this situation new. There is also a fourth criterion for accession, one that is of very considerable significance, and it is the one adopted in Copenhagen, which states that consideration must also be given to the Union’s own capacity to cope with further accessions. In the absence not only of a constitution but also of any financial settlement, we have to ask ourselves the very serious question as to whether it really is well-advised to start accession negotiations with Turkey on 4 October. We have to ask ourselves – that is, the European Union itself – whether we really are in a fit state to handle another enlargement. Along with many of my friends, I take the view that this question has to be answered, and firmly, in the negative."@en1

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