HC Deb 29 June 1971 vol 820 cc199-200
Q3. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the visit of the Italian Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister

Signor Colombo arrived in London on Sunday and after a visit to Edinburgh will return home tomorrow. I have had very full discussions with Signor Colombo and Signor Moro, who is accompanying him, covering European questions, including enlargement of the Community, and other international issues of common interest.

Mr. Marten

While, naturally, I welcome the visit of the Italian Prime Minister, could my right hon. Friend say whether Signor Colombo gave his wholehearted support to President Pompidou's aim of a confederation for Europe?

The Prime Minister

The Italian Government have always expressed a desire to have closer European unity. We have not on this occasion discussed the specific nature of that unity in the political sphere because all Governments in the Community and ourselves as a possible member agreed that this was something which must be discussed when the Community is enlarged.

Mr. Grimond

Following upon that question, as the Italians played a leading part in the earlier discussions on the political future of Europe can the right hon. Gentleman say—although he says that no firm decision was made—whether any timetable was drawn up or preparations were made for taking this matter up again and perhaps following it up in the Fouchet and other committees in future?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. No timetable or programme was worked out for these discussions. As far as I know, the Community has nothing in mind like the previous Fouchet Committee, which prepared a plan on a federal basis for greater unity in Europe.

Mr. Moyle

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether he discussed with the Italian Prime Minister the creation of a technological community in Europe since this was a major feature of the Labour Government's application about which we have not heard much from this Government?

The Prime Minister

Members of the Community recognise the immense importance of technological development. Signor Colombo in a speech last night paid tribute to the contribution which Britain could make in this respect. On the other hand, I think the Leader of the Opposition would agree that it has never been accepted policy of the members of the Community that a separate technological community should be created. The movement has been in the opposite direction, because Euratom and the Coal and Steel Community have become merged.

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