HC Deb 22 June 1971 vol 819 cc1189-90
Q2. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for a further official meeting with President Pompidou.

The Prime Minister

As I told the House last Thursday, none at present.—[Vol. 819, c. 638–9.]

Mr. Marten

Did my right hon. Friend notice the remarks of the German Foreign Minister yesterday saying that the German aim was to create a European Government? How does that square with President Pompidou's idea of a confederation?

The Prime Minister

I have already explained to my hon. Friend that at the moment there is no political institution in Europe for the existing Community and none proposed for an enlarged Community. If these political institutions are to be brought about, it will have to happen by agreement between the member countries. They can be brought about only by a new treaty. There would have to be a process of discussion between members about the form that they would take. It is well known that there axe differences of view on this subject between existing members of the Community, and there may be further differences in an enlarged Community. That is not unusual in developing institutions.

Mr. McBride

Would not it be of advantage to ask President Pompidou to clarify his reference to disruption of our traditional food supplies"? Has the Prime Minister seen the differences between Community and United Kingdom prices printed in yesterday's Daily Telegraph? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the British housewife has no intention of subsidising the inefficient French agricultural system, which would be the result of Britain entering the Common Market?

The Prime Minister

In his broadcast, President Pompidou was referring to changing patterns of trade. In fact, patterns of trade have been changing between this country, the Commonwealth, Europe and North America, certainly over the last 25 years, and they have changed for individual members of the Commonwealth as well as for individual members of the Community.

As for the last part of the hon. Gentleman's question, the negotiations have been carried on to see whether a suitable arrangement can be found. They are going on at the moment in Luxembourg. We had better await the outcome of the negotiations. Then, when the White Paper is published, the House will be asked to balance the opportunities open to us in an enlarged Community, especially to our industry, against the cost set out in the contribution to the finances of the Community to which all countries contribute.