European Economic Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Neil McBride Mr Neil McBride , Swansea East 12:00 am, 21st February 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his examination of the effect on the future of Wales of Great Britain's membership of the European Economic Community if the present member nations of the European Economic Community reach agreement on future economic and monetary union projects.

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

Participation by Her Majesty's Government in the progressive development of these policies in the Community will take account of all relevant considerations, including those relating to Wales.

Photo of Mr Neil McBride Mr Neil McBride , Swansea East

First, is the Secretary of State aware that Welsh prospects will be severely injured if Britain becomes a member State of the European Economic Community and aligns herself with the Community's economic and social policies? Reports emanating from the Continent indicate that the E.E.C. partners differ over this question. Secondly, does he consider it right that, as will happen, we should delegate decisions for solving industrial disputes to an inter-governmental committee of the E.E.C.? Lastly, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider the effect of the importation into all these considerations of the fact that there are over 2 million unemployed in the Community? How will this matter affect Wales which has languished under Conservative rule with 56,000 unemployed, the highest figure for 25 years?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

The hon. Gentleman's Question refers to the matter of agreement on future economic and monetary union projects". It is widely accepted in the Community that a major element in achieving closer economic and monetary harmonisation is the development of effective policies for its regions, and the existence of such policies would be one of the pre-conditions for a satisfactory final solution. That is where Welsh interests lie.

Photo of Sir Anthony Meyer Sir Anthony Meyer , Flintshire West

Without paying regard to the problem referred to by the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride), may I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether he will confirm that if the member States of the European Economic Community are able to agree on an expanded regional programme it will be of very considerable assistance to development projects in Wales?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I certainly agree with that.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

If the E.E.C. countries agree, it will be the first time that they have agreed on any regional policy—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. Is the right hon. Gentleman asking a question?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Yes, Mr. Speaker—with your co-operation. Is the Secretary of State aware that 29 out of the 36 Welsh Members of Parliament registered an opinion last week against Britain going into the Common Market?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is the Secretary of State aware that the best thing he could do for Wales would be to continue the former regional policy which brought over 200 new factories to the Principality?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I am aware that many right hon. and hon. Welsh Members voted in favour—

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

Yes—of Britain's entry to the Common Market when the right hon. Gentleman's party was in office.