Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Report on EU enlargement policies

On 21 November 2012, MEPs debated a report by the Foreign Affairs Committee on EU enlargement policies.

The report is part of an assessment process of the EU's enlargement strategy, taking into account the successes and failures of past enlargement.

It says that social factors are as important as economic factors in building links with candidate countries.

The committee says the European Commission should pay greater attention to protecting the labour rights and working conditions in new member states.

Speaking during the debate, Bulgarian socialist MEP Kristian Vigenin said that proper EU enlargement could not be judged a real success until the countries of the Western Balkans - namely Albania and the ex-Yugoslav countries that have yet to join - became EU members.

The European Union has had six enlargements since its creation, with the next enlargement due to take place in 2013 with the accession of Croatia.

British Conservative MEP Charles Tannock welcomed the principles of EU enlargement and said that a union of more than thirty countries would create an economic bloc that would be a "serious force to be reckoned with".

The report was formally adopted during the daily voting session on 22 November 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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