HC Deb 17 November 1969 vol 791 cc838-9
22. Mr. Biffen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the European Economic Community Commission and the Council of Ministers concerning the proposal to merge the treaties which have established the Common Market, Euratom and the European Coal and Steel Community, respectively; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. George Thomson

None, Sir.

Mr. Biffen

Do not these emergency proposals provide an excellent opportunity for an initiative by Her Majesty's Government in promulgating some form of treaty embodying a European Association which precludes both supranational and the federal characteristics present in the Treaties of Rome and Paris which are so unacceptable to a large number of people in this country, and now to many in Continental Europe?

Mr. Thomson

I think that the present position is very clear as regards the three treaties. The Councils of the three European Communities were merged in July, 1967, but the six nations themselves have not so far taken any further steps to merge the treaties. We have made an application to adhere to the treaties, and the treaties lay down carefully what obligations are involved.

Mr. Orme

Is it not a fact that particularly Euratom and the Iron and Steel Community are far from working satisfactorily in the E.E.C., and should this not be fully acknowledged? Second, what comment has my right hon. Friend to make about the nationalisation of steel in this country, which was adversely criticised and claimed by a recent E.E.C. publication to be outside the terms of the Treaty of Rome?

Mr. Thomson

I understand that there is no question but that our arrangements in this country regarding the organisation of the steel industry are consistent with British membership of the Community.

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