HC Deb 03 February 1970 vol 795 cc207-9
Q1. Mr. Barnes

asked the Prime Minister what opportunities he expects to have during the first half of 1970 to discuss Great Britain's application to join the European Economic Community with individual heads of Government of the European Economic Community countries.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I have nothing at present to add to my reply to Questions by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Winnick) and other hon. Members on 20th January.—[Vol. 794, c. 250–3.]

Mr. Barnes

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it could be important for the Six in the negotiations that there should be no doubt about the kind of institutional integration which Britain favours in Europe? Could not a series of meetings help to clarify this? Secondly, can my right hon. Friend say when the White Paper is to be published?

The Prime Minister

On the first part of that question, we have had in the last few weeks a number of distinguished visitors, Ministers from France, Luxembourg, and, as my hon. Friend will know, Herr Brandt is coming here next month. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is visiting all the capitals of the Six. In regard to the publication of the White Paper, I hope it will be available to the House next week. It has already gone for printing.

Mr. Grimond

Can the Prime Minister enlighten the House a little about how negotiations are now likely to start? For instance, are we to conduct general negotiations with other people who want to go into the Common Market? If so, is he having preliminary discussions with them as to the terms on which they would go in?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman will know of our contacts with the Republic of Ireland, our partners in the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and of course other applicants from E.F.T.A. as to how the negotiations will be undertaken. I do not think the Six have decided themselves, and obviously they must decide, who goes in to bat on their side. However they regulate their side, we shall be negotiating ourselves with them and not as part of a general team of players.

Mr. Raphael Tuck

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Dr. Luns—with whom Herr Strauss agrees—has stated publicly that unless Britain gives a firm commitment to join a federal Europe he is not interested in our joining the Common Market? In view of the assurances which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) on 16th February this year, and to me on 10th June last year, that Great Britain has no intention of joining a federal Europe, has my right hon. Friend anything further to state?

The Prime Minister

There is no better friend of the enlargement of the Community in Europe than Dr. Luns and he knows, as we know, that there is nothing of a federal character in the Treaty of Rome or the treaties governing the other communities, so the question simply does not arise. The political implications that we accept, and have made clear that we accept, are those contained in the Treaty of Rome for the regulation of the Community itself.