HC Deb 17 June 1971 vol 819 cc637-8
Q4. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister what subjects he will be discussing with the Italian Prime Minister on his forthcoming visit.

The Prime Minister

Our discussions will of course be confidential, but I look forward to a wide-ranging review of world affairs, including the enlargement of the European Communities.

Mr. Marten

Will my right hon. Friend also be confirming the Anglo-Italian Declaration of April, 1969, whereby both our countries called for a democratically-elected Parliament for the enlarged Community? At the same time, will he express the sorrow of this country at the re-emergence, apparently, of the Fascist Party in Italy?

The Prime Minister

We have already confirmed the Declaration, which was arranged by our predecessors. It said that the Community should be based firmly on democratic institutions and that the European Parliament has a vital rôle to play. That was confirmed by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. My hon. Friend referred to the internal Italian political situation. Since the war we have seen from time to time in various European countries the emergence of parties with which we would not be in sympathy. We have also seen that those parties have withered away again. I ask my right hon. Friend not to put too much emphasis on the result of one lot of local government elections.

Sir G. de Freitas

Whatever is on the agenda, will the Prime Minister see that some time is spent in discussing the development and democratisation of the European Parliament, based on the discussions of two years ago?

The Prime Minister

I am perfectly ready to do that if the Italian Prime Minister is prepared to do so. I think that the Italian Government have always taken the lead in the Community in putting emphasis on this point, particularly on direct election to the European Parliament, so it would not surprise me if the Italian Prime Minister wished to discuss the question of the European Parliament.

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