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EC Foreign Policies

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st July 1992.

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Photo of Mr David Knox Mr David Knox , Staffordshire Moorlands 12:00 am, 1st July 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to have discussions with his European Community partners concerning the development of common European Community foreign policies.

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

I meet my European Community partners regularly to discuss the strengthening of intergovernmental co-operation on foreign policy.

Photo of Mr David Knox Mr David Knox , Staffordshire Moorlands

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Maastricht treaty will enable Britain, through Europe, to exert much more influence in international affairs and thus protect British interests much more effectively?

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

What the Maastricht treaty does in that respect is to underline and strengthen the co-operation between member states of the Community in foreign affairs. It takes foreign affairs out of any possible conveyor belt into integration with the Commission's monopoly of initiative and the jurisdiction of the court. Like my hon. Friend, I believe that that is the right framework in which Community members should conduct their essential work together on foreign policy.

Photo of George Galloway George Galloway , Glasgow Hillhead

Will the Foreign Secretary try to convince the other Community Foreign Ministers to condemn the decision of the Government of Norway to resort to international piracy by walking out of the International Whaling Commission, which is meeting this week in Glasgow in my constituency? Does he agree that Norway's decision to return to the killing fields, thus turning the oceans of the world into bloodbaths with the tracking and butchering of those beautiful and important creatures, makes Norway singularly unsuitable for membership of the European Community?

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has made our position clear before the conference. We shall seek to persuade others, inside and outside the Community, that our position is reasonable and right.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham , North West Norfolk

Will my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary turn his attention to the letter in today's edition of The Times from the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Dr. Karadzik, explaining why they have initiated a ceasefire? Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is an extremely welcome development?

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

Of course I do. I congratulate The Times on resuming something of its ancient role in receiving such letters from all over the world. What counts is not the letter to The Times or radio broadcasts to the same effect, but whether the policy works on the ground. That is being tested in these hours. I hope, as the United Nations hopes, that within the next day the United Nations commander, General Mackenzie, will be able to tell us and others that as a result of the decision to which my hon. Friend referred Sarajevo airport is open for a regular flow of supplies. We shall then send in our supplies. It will clearly be important to continue that flow, to ensure that the road to Sarajevo is open and that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross can distribute supplies in Sarajevo. I hope that my hon. Friend is right and that the letter in The Times and similar statements elsewhere will lead to the permanent relief of Sarajevo.