Summit Meeting

Oral Answers to Questions — European Community – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 1979.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central 12:00 am, 17th January 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Council of Ministers plans next to meet officially to prepare submissions for the next European Council summit meeting.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

There will be meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council on 6th February and 6th March. Unless the presidency propose other arrangements, the preparations for the European Council will therefore be finally reviewed by Foreign Ministers a week before its meeting on 12th and 13th March.

Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central

Does the Minister expect or, indeed, hope that by the time of the next summit Britain will be able to join the EMS, provided that it is then working satisfactorily?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman listened attentively to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on this matter. We did not enter because we did not believe that the criteria laid down for the operation of the scheme met the criteria which we felt would adequately protect and look to our interests. If things develop in the right direction, we shall review the position.

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

Will my hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend to make submissions on the common agricultural policy? If we cannot get any fundamental changes in that policy, will we make a clear statement that we shall withdraw from the Common Market until we get those changes?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

I assure my hon. Friend that it is intended that at the European Council meeting there will be a review of developments in the common agricultural policy. As for the line that he advocates, I think that would be unfortunate, because the indications are that, through the stalwart stand being made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and others, we are making progress towards reform.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield

When the agenda is being drawn up, will the Minister ensure that Iran is put on it so that EEC Ministers and leaders can discuss with France, where the Ayatollah Khomeini at present resides, why it has allowed him to carry on a vicious campaign against a country which is friendly to the West, particularly when he is one of the most reactionary bigots in history?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

If the hon. Gentleman feels as strongly as he appears to do, he might be a little unhappy to leave such discussions until March.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Wandsworth Battersea North

Is it not increasingly clear that the EEC, far from uniting Western Europe, is becoming a cause of conflicts and disputes between Western European countries, by trying to force on them policies which they do not wish to pursue?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

I do not share my right hon. Friend's analysis, but I endorse something which I believe underlines part of what he said. If we are genuinely building a real Community, it is tremendously important that the Commission and others realise that we must move at a pace which can be digested by all the member countries, and a pace which does not force member countries to take steps which are against their national interests.

Photo of Mr Francis Pym Mr Francis Pym , Cambridgeshire

In the Government's view, ought not the Community to attach especial importance to Turkey? Yesterday the Prime Minister referred to economic discussions at Guadeloupe. Ought not the Community to contemplate a much larger package of assistance to Turkey, and could this be considered before and at the summit meeting?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

I assure the right hon. Gentleman that, in the context of various Community meetings, Turkey is very high on the agenda. We have a special association agreement—one of the first such agreements—with Turkey. Turkey is anxious about the future of that agreement. The shape that the future should take in this respect is a matter to which we shall continue to give close attention.