§ 53. Mr. Ernest Davies
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to make a statement on the recent meetings of the Council of Europe, at Strasbourg, attended by the Under-Secretary of State.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)
Yes, Sir. Since the reply is lengthy, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Davies
In view of the fact that the deliberations at Strasbourg recently indicated that the so-called Eden Plan is dead, is it proposed to have a meeting of the Committee of Ministers so that the differences as regards the relationship between the Council of Europe and the Community can be re-assessed?
§ Mr. Nutting
There will be a meeting of the Committee of Ministers shortly, so I understand. Discussions at Strasbourg showed that the Eden Plan was still very much alive.
§ Following is the reply:
§ An Extraordinary Session of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe was held in Strasbourg from 14th to 17th January, 1953. The United Kingdom delegation was led by myself. At this Session, the Consultative Assembly held a debate on the Fourth Annual Report of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, and on the Report of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community. The principal subject under discussion was the work so far accomplished by the Ad Hoc Assembly—a special body of parliamentarians from Belgium, France, the German Federal Republic, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, who, together with observers from the United Kingdom and other Western European countries, have been entrusted by the Foreign Ministers of the six countries with the task of drawing up a constitution for a European Political Community (E.P.C.).
§ The plan in its present form provides for a bi-cameral legislature; a European Executive Council responsible to the two Chambers for the general direction of the Community; and a Council of National Ministers to coordinate national policies with those of the European Political Community. This plan, which was the basis for discussion in the Consultative Assembly, is only provisional and may be revised by the Ad Hoc Assembly before it is finally approved.
§ After a general debate, the Consultative Assembly decided to refer questions relating to the functions and institutions of the Political Community to the General Affairs Committee which is to produce a report for consideration by the Consultative Assembly at its next Session. Recommendations were made on the question of association between the Political Community and the other countries of Western Europe. These recommendations follow closely the underlying principle of the proposals for the future development of the Council of Europe which Her Majesty's Government put forward in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in March, 1952. They provide, among other things, for:
- (i) close liaison between the Political Community and the Council of Europe;
- (ii) periodic meetings between the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the executive organs of the Political Community; and
- (iii) the members of the Senate of the Political Community to represent the six member countries in the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe.
§ These recommendations have now to be considered by the Ad Hoc Assembly with a view to their incorporation in the draft Constitution which, according to present plans, is to be submitted to the six Governments concerned early in March.