Oral Answers to Questions — European Economic Community and European Free Trade Association

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton 12:00 am, 24th November 1966

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that the European Economic Community countries have not replied to an approach by the European Free Trade Association governments for joint talks, Her Majesty's Government will now abandon the proposal, or whether they will make renewed efforts.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Her Majesty's Government are not the only Government concerned in this question, which is of the kind which European Free Trade Association Heads of Government will have before them when they meet on 5th December.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Would my right hon. Friend make it quite clear that in fact our Government are trying to get an agreement between the two sets of Governments so that we can have a basis for a much wider Europe than is envisaged by the present Community?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

That was the purpose of the initiative we took at Vienna in May, 1965, with the full support of our E.F.T.A. colleagues. I myself would not be too greatly disheartened by the fact that that initiative did not receive any warm response from the E.E.C. countries, because, as is well known, the E.E.C. was going through a very difficult, and indeed dangerous, period for several months from then on. I think all of us have noted with satisfaction that those particular difficulties of the E.E.C. have now been overcome. The purpose of the Conference a week on Monday here in London is to see how far we can co-ordinate our activities on the question of our individual approaches to Europe.