HC Deb 28 November 1973 vol 865 cc389-91
19. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what items he hopes to place on the agenda for the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Mr. John Davies

I would draw my hon. Friend's attention to the estimate of subject headings likely to come up for discussion in the Council in December, which was placed in the Vote Office on 26th November.

Mr. Marten

As long as Britain remains a member of the Common Market, should not the Government try to get a harmonised and even-handed policy towards sanctions against Rhodesia? Is it right that Britain should operate 100 per cent. sanctions against Rhodesia while France, Germany and Italy are the biggest sanctions busters in Europe? While I accept that the Government have raised this matter with the countries concerned and with the United Nations, may we be told the reason why it has never been put on the agenda of the Council of Ministers? Would it upset the Common Market countries?

Mr. Davies

My hon. Friend is under an entirely mistaken impression. The truth is that these issues are matters to be raised directly with the countries concerned, irrespective of whether they are members of the Community, and through the United Nations. This is, in fact, what the Government do.

Mr. Richard

At the next meeting of the Council of Ministers, no doubt, the Government will wish to discuss a common energy policy for Europe. Will the right hon. Gentleman, in view of his last answer to me a few minutes ago, confirm that it is open to Common Market countries, if they wish, to increase the level of oil exports from the other Common Market countries to Holland, and that the Arab representatives who are in Europe at the moment have not sought to remove that right? Is that the position? Could we be clear about it?

Mr. Davies

May I make this quite clear? The question of the movement of products between Community countries, to which I imagine the hon. and learned Gentleman refers, is a matter for the industry involved. The hon. and learned Gentleman refers to Governments or countries doing these things. It is, in fact, companies which are responsible for this movement.

Mr. Churchill

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will at least not accede to the request made by Mr. Sadat to the EEC recently, for 400 tons of grain, so long as there is any question of fuel not being made fully available to members of the European Economic Community?

Mr. Davies

I cannot answer that question without notice.