First Day

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 3:23 pm on 6th May 1992.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 3:23 pm, 6th May 1992

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, but I wish to make some progress. Many other hon. Members are waiting to speak.

Increasingly, countries that join the European Community will also join the Western European Union, as the European pillar of a common defence effort; but, if the need ever again arose, it would be through NATO that the members of the WEU would defend themselves. Any European country joining the WEU will still look to NATO—including the American presence in Europe—for its defence. That is the reality; it is also good sense.

I was the first Head of Government of the Group of Seven to undertake to attend the Rio summit. I shall go backed by our commitment to the target of returning carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000, provided that others will do the same. We hope to sign global conventions on biological diversity and climate change.

We are continuing to work for agreement in the GATT trade talks. Too much progress has been made to allow the remaining gap to lead to a breakdown. These issues require constant management, constant vigilance and constant diplomatic effort. We shall need all the means at our disposal.