European Economic Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Wireless and Television – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr William Hamling Mr William Hamling , Woolwich West 12:00 am, 13th July 1967

asked the Prime Minister if he will now make a statement on the date of the opening of formal negotiations for Great Britain entering the Common Market.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy with re- gard to the opening of formal negotiations for entry into the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Her Majesty's Government hope that the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary in Western European Union on 4th July will enable negotiations to open as soon as the opinion of the Commission has been given.

Photo of Mr William Hamling Mr William Hamling , Woolwich West

Is the Prime Minister aware that the statement made by the Foreign Secretary has the overwhelming support of the majority of Europeans, including the majority of Frenchmen?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I think it had a very good response at the W.E.U. meeting and generally in the European Press, and it carried a great deal of acceptance on the Continent as well as in this country.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

After the statement by the French Foreign Secretary to the Council of Ministers particularly opposing Britain's entry because of her role in sterling and the agricultural policy, because of the flat rejection on those two points, is it not time to bring our representatives home and work out an alternative policy to the Market?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Our representatives are not in fact there. The decision of the Council of Ministers was to refer this matter to the Commission. That is appropriate under the Treaty of Rome. There has been no flat rejection by the French Foreign Minister or anyone else. There has been no flat rejection and the matter is proceeding through the Commission. In the speech of M. Couve de Murville there were a number of fallacious statements. Those are matters which can be dealt with as time goes by. Indeed, they were dealt witty on the visit of my right hon. Friend and myself to Paris in January. We shall have to do more in that direction.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Wanstead and Woodford

Has the Prime Minister's attention been drawn to the speech of M. Von de Groeben, who said that the sincerity of those seeking to join the Community would be decided by the extent to which they were prepared to align their legislation in advance of joining the Community? Would he now undertake an intensive study of, for instance, the value-added tax?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I do not think that the legislative programme of the House can be settled on the basis of individual speeches of individual members of the Commission. We must wait and see what the report of the Commission as a whole may be. Regarding the value-added tax, I made it clear in the debate on the Common Market that we are studying intensively the problems raised by the fiscal harmonisation requirements of the Common Market.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

The Prime Minister has said on many occasions that he expects by Christmas to be able to form a view about whether the application will be seriously considered. If by Christmas he has not any hope that the application will he accepted, will he then set about forming an alternative to it?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I have dealt with the question of alternatives many times and I do not propose to go over the same ground. We hope that we shall be in a position by the latter part of the year to know where we stand on the general question of negotiations. If not, we shall have to consider our position then. However, I cannot answer hypothetical questions now.