EEC Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1974.

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Photo of Mr Eric Moonman Mr Eric Moonman , Basildon 12:00 am, 25th November 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will take steps to represent to the Council of Ministers the need to initiate a co-ordinated energy policy for the EEC partners.

Photo of Mr George Gardiner Mr George Gardiner , Reigate and Banstead

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the agreement at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 17th September to accept the Community resolution calling for the elaboration of a common energy policy.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

At their meeting on 17th September, the Council of Foreign Ministers adopted a resolution on energy in which they affirmed their willingness to develop a Community energy policy and decided to hold a Council on energy before the end of 1974. This is being arranged for December and I hope to attend it.

Photo of Mr Eric Moonman Mr Eric Moonman , Basildon

In view of the enormous potential which Britain has on energy policy, will my right hon. Friend consider taking a lead at the conference, particularly on research in which we have some competence, because people of this country do not wish to be in the position they were in last year of being blackmailed by the Arabs over our fuel supplies?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I take my hon. Friend's advice. On his last point I draw his attention to the international energy programme and the energy agency which the Government believe will help to meet the circumstances my hon. Friend has described.

Photo of Mr George Gardiner Mr George Gardiner , Reigate and Banstead

Does the Secretary of State accept that one of the considerable advantages that this country can gain from membership of the EEC is the opportunity to participate in a common policy to meet the energy crisis? At the meeting which is to take place before the end of the year, will the right hon. Gentleman do his utmost to ensure that this matter is not delayed or soft-pedalled pending the result of the renegotiation of other matters?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

We intend to play a constructive part in energy policy in Europe and we shall consider all the proposals realistically without in any way taking action which will weaken our own position.

Photo of Mr Richard Kelley Mr Richard Kelley , Don Valley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain decisions have been taken by the EEC on the question of a common energy policy for Europe which seem to be in direct conflict with the statements by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer? The European document "Industry and Society" of 5th November 1974, No. 39/74, says: The European Commission has just authorised the British, German"—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. It is out of order for a questioner to quote from a document during Question time.

Photo of Mr Richard Kelley Mr Richard Kelley , Don Valley

The Commission has apparently just authorised the coal industries of France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Holland to be subsidised for commercial losses. That is in direct conflict with the policy which was enunciated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I should like to know what my right hon. Friend thinks of a common energy policy which cuts directly across the British Government's financial policy.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I am not aware of or familiar with the point my hon. Friend has raised. We have not entered into any commitments at the moment. We are examining a variety of proposals. Of course, we shall take into account what our European partners have to say and we shall decide in the light of those discussions whether we can co-operate further.