HC Deb 09 April 1973 vol 854 cc911-2
6. Mr. Denzil Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions his Department has had with the officials of the Commission of the EEC on the effect of the Community's proposed regional policy on the Welsh economy.

Mr. Peter Thomas

My hon. Friend the Minister of State had a most useful discussion recently with the European Commissioner responsible for regional policy. My officials have frequently had talks with staff of the Commission on regional policy issues. I myself plan to visit Brussels soon for further discussions.

Mr. Davies

Since Wales is suffering from a lower per capita income than most member States which participate in the common agricultural policy, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman make it clear in Brussels that the whole of Wales without exception must qualify for the highest level of financial assistance under any proposed regional policy laid down by the Commission?

Mr. Thomas

All these matters will be discussed when I go to Brussels.

Mr. Hooson

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman obtained an undertaking from the Commission that Wales will be recognised as a region for the purposes of the regional policy? Secondly, with the example of Bavaria in mind, would it not be advantageous to Wales to have a separate office in Brussels?

Mr. Thomas

I do not know what the hon. and learned Gentleman means by his words "recognised as a region". Wales is recognised as a separate part of the United Kingdom and makes representations to the Commission. The question whether all parts of Wales will be regarded as being peripheral or central has yet to be discussed and the consultative document has not yet been prepared and issued by the Commission.

Mr. Roderick

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied with the common agricultural policy? If not, how long does he foresee its being continued?

Mr. Thomas

The Question on the Order Paper was about regional policy. If the hon. Gentleman wants answers about agricultural matters, perhaps he will put down a Question himself.