Mr Frank Judd: This is a matter of the constitution of the Community. The Council of Ministers, as such, does not discuss wider political issues of this sort. They are discussed in political co-operation of the Nine on separate occasions. As I have said, the subject of Southern Africa, not least Namibia, has been extremely high on the agenda at all times and will continue to be until the issues are resolved.
Mr Frank Judd: I am certainly used to obscure points from my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing). I am sorry if I did not hear correctly the reference number that he quoted. On the subject of EMS, obviously the Council will be taking any necessary steps to follow up what the European Council has decided at its meeting earlier in the month.
Mr Frank Judd: Our relations with the Republic of Ireland are close and friendly. There are regular discussions with the Irish authorities at all levels on matters of common interest, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be meeting the Taoiseach on 27th November.
Mr Frank Judd: My right hon. Friend will be discussing the whole range of relations with our Irish friends and colleagues, but I can say from first-hand experience that there is every reason to believe that the Irish Government take the security question every bit as seriously as we do. We are anxious to maximise practical cooperation in every way that we can.
Mr Frank Judd: We naturally regret the closure of communications between the North and the South. We shall do anything that we can together to ensure that they are kept open regularly in future.
Mr Frank Judd: A British contribution of £500,000 has recently been approved for refugee relief in Cyprus. The problem of displaced persons can only be finally resolved in the context of a political settlement.
Mr Frank Judd: There is a later Question on the Order Paper about new initiatives, and I think that we should await that. As to the other part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I think that it is a disgrace that no progress has been made on the issue of missing people. There is great anguish among many people and I have witnessed it myself in Cyprus. I am sad that there has been no response to the...
Mr Frank Judd: Famagusta is a critical part of the overall problem. I know of the hon. Gentleman's long-standing interest in the whole subject of Cyprus, but I put it to him that we should now concentrate on finding an overall strategic solution. As I have said, a later Question on the Order Paper deals with this issue.
Mr Frank Judd: Our approach in the Security Council, as elsewhere, is to do everything constructive and positive that we can to promote the resumption of intercommunal talks because we believe that progress will be made only when the two parties sit down and start talking directly together about their common interests in finding a solution.
Mr Frank Judd: No, Sir.
Mr Frank Judd: Our respect for the people of Malta and the Maltese contribution during the war is as great as it has ever been. We look forward to having good and positive relationships with the Maltese people after the completion of the military withdrawal in March. I am sure that my hon. Friend's suggestion will be taken fully into account as one possible way of marking the significance of this new chapter.
Mr Frank Judd: We are naturally sad that there have been these difficulties in our relationships with the Maltese Government. I am glad to report to the House, however, that after the Maltese Government had had talks with the BBC recently it was agreed that the corporation's journalists should return and, furthermore, that British Forces' broadcasting should go back on the air.
Mr Frank Judd: As I explained to the House on 15th November, we are determined that salaries should not be excessive, should be related to the salaries of national parliamentarians and should be subject to national taxation. Allowances should be related to necesary expenditure.
Mr Frank Judd: The Government have a very firm view that it is essential that this issue must be resolved before the elections so that those who stand and are elected know what the terms of service will be. That is a highly relevant factor to the whole future of the Assembly. Our view is that the responsibility for a final decision lies with Ministers in the Council of Ministers.
Mr Frank Judd: I endorse the objective that the principle should be that the salaries are the same in the sense that people will be going to the European Assembly as representatives of their country and of communities in their country. It seems right that their remuneration should be the same as that considered appropriate for being a Member of this House.
Mr Frank Judd: We hope that significant progress can be made to finalising this matter by the end of this year. The Government believe that it would be wrong in principle to go into the election campaign before this issue was resolved.
Mr Frank Judd: I think that on reflection the hon. Gentleman will realise that his view is in every sense a federal view of Europe. The Government have repeatedly explained that they do not hold that federal view. In that sense we see Members going to the European Assembly as representatives of the people of this country. In that capacity their taxation should be the same as that applied to those whom they...
Mr Frank Judd: We can certainly see about giving the House the contents of my hon. Friend's reply. It is clear that the declaration of interest is an issue of honour, whether in this House or in the European Assembly. My hon. Friend will recall that I said that it was appropriate that the question should be decided within the context of the Assembly itself.
Mr Frank Judd: I beg to move, That this House takes note of the Report on Developments in the European Communities, January-June 1978 (Command Paper No. 7361). This White Paper gives the House a factual account of events and developments during the Danish presidency of the Community. At the outset of our deliberations, I should like once again to thank the right hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir J....
Mr Frank Judd: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing this further evidence to my attention. I can assure him, because I was present at the Council of Ministers concerned, that we talk frankly about evasion where it occurs and the problems that face us. However, I wish to pay tribute to Commissioner Davignon for the seriousness with which he treats such matters and his determination to overcome these...