Will my hon. Friend ensure that it is communicated to our right hon. Friend that it is important that textiles should be discussed when he meets the President? There is a great deal of concern about the working of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement, particularly in relation to imports from the Mediterranean associates, who are disrupting the market by dumping. Is it not time that we told the Commission to take action on this question?
I recognise the strength of feeling on this score. It is because my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade also feels strongly that he has battled so hard within the Council to get tighter control of policy on this front. Having battled hard, he received yesterday the reassurances that he had sought, and was therefore able to give his consent to the agreed policy. But the Community must he effective in the implementation of what is agreed at Council meetings.
Since the Government correctly maintain that Britain's problems, and particularly our unemployment problem, can be solved only by international agreement, does it really make sene to pretend that agreement within the EEC can be reached only on British terms, as the Treasury evidently contends, in terms of the monetary agreement?
What has become very clear in recent years is that while the Community working together can make a contribution to growth and sound international economic management—which is the only way in which we can overcome the serious problem of unemployment which affects all our countries—this cannot be solved exclusively within a Community context. That is why we feel that we must pursue policies that will be effective, such as those at the Bonn summit, which brought together a wider group of industrialised nations. I believe that progress was made in that direction at the recent Bonn summit.
Will the Minister tell Mr. Jenkins that this country will not be sucked in to his Bremen monetary arrangement purely by high-sounding cliches, the sort of thing which sucked this country into the Common Market in the first place? Can we have an assurance that the Government will approach this matter in a pragmatic and practical way?
I am not sure whether the hon Gentleman was with us earlier when I dealt with questions on this front. I can give him an undertaking that the Government's approach is highly pragmatic and practical. We shall go along only with those arrangements which, apart from their high-falutin' theory, can be demonstrated to he in people's interests. In this context we look for reform on the CAP and for greater economic and social convergence as the other side of the coin in the overall policies of the Community.
Will the Brussels spokesman confirm that while it may be dangerous to harmonise jam, jelly and crumpet, as suggested by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), it is more sinister to accept the harmonisation plan evinced by the Franco-German proposal in relation to our currency? Does he accept that that will mean the industrial domination by the West Germans of our economy to a growing extent and ensure that the common agricultural policy, which assists France, will remain unchanged for ever?
I recognise and, indeed, respect the strength of feeling of my hon. Friend on this matter, but I emphasise to him that it is a far cry from a greater degree of monetary stability to a common currency, and at this juncture there is no question of our becoming committed to any concept of a common currency.
Is the Minister aware that his earlier reply on the question of majority voting will have reassured many hon. Members who watched the ominous developments at the Council of Agriculture Ministers this week? Would it not be helpful if, in future, when he makes a statement of forthcoming business at Council meetings, he made quite clear those matters in respect of which we would insist on a unanimous decision as opposed to a majority decision?
I shall certainly have a look at that proposition, but I believe that wherever contentious issues arise—issues which have been referred to the House by the Scrutiny Committee for debate—it is absolutely essential that we as a Government take into account the views of right hon. and hon. Members before finalising our position.
Will the Minister remind Mr. Jenkins that in December 1976 Mr. Gundelach and the previous Commission at one go scrapped 35 draft directives, on the ground that they were unlikely to be approved? Would not it be a great relief to us all if there were now a similar bonfire?
That may or may not be a good suggestion. However, I believe that the hon. Gentleman and I would agree that it would be much better if the Commission were to concentrate its attention, priority and resources on things that are really of practical benefit rather than getting into the predicament of expending time and energy on ideas which it is clear will be rejected by the body politic.