Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary evidence from Melanie Johnson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Competition, Consumers and Markets, Department of Trade and Industry

  During my replies to questions from Members of the Committee on 12 March 2003, I promised that I would respond on the issue of the integration of the new Member States into the European Union.

  The position is broadly as follows. It is intended that the Treaty and Act of Accession will be signed on 16 April 2003. From that time onwards, all new Member States will be fully involved as active observers in the proceedings of the Council, have rights to speak in Council and other EU meetings and will also receive most papers.

  Subject to approval by referenda, the accession countries will become Members of the European Union with effect from 1 May 2004. From that date, they would have full voting rights and the acquis of the Union would apply within the Members, subject to any agreed transitional arrangements.

  I hope this explains the position.

17 March 2003

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