HC Deb 28 April 1976 vol 910 cc370-1
21. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet the other Foreign Ministers of the EEC.

25. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he expects to meet EEC leaders in the near future.

Mr. Crosland

I shall be meeting the other Foreign Ministers of the EEC in Luxembourg on 14th and 15th May.

Mr. Blaker

Does the Foreign Secretary agree that one of the areas in which the Community has the best prospect of making progress is the concerting of foreign policy? In that connection, will he pay attention to the situation in Yugoslavia, to which country concerted EEC and, indeed, NATO policy is desirable in view of the clear evidence that the Soviet Union is making preparations to attempt to put Yugoslavia under Soviet control?

Mr. Crosland

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's general proposition that one of the most fruitful lines of development in the Community should be to concert foreign policy. Indeed, it was in the belief that that was possible that I first became a supporter of our entry into the Common Market. [Interruption.]I am still, on the whole, a supporter as long as the EEC allows the fisheries policy to come all right. I have no statement to make on Yugoslavia.

Mr. Skinner

Will my right hon. Friend ask Common Market leaders to produce a joint list indicating all those occasions when other Common Market countries have contravened the Treaty of Rome? Has not the issue been highlighted by the recent shipping convention, which seemingly allows three Common Market nations to take part in an activity which contravenes the article about free competition at a time when we in Britain are being weighed down by VAT, surrounded by surpluses, and have a massive trade deficit with the rest of the Common Market which seemingly British trade unions are now being asked to resolve by having a pay policy of 3 per cent. or whatever goes with it?

Mr. Crosland

It is on the tip of my tongue to give my hon. Friend the latest house building figures, but I know from long experience of his deep concern for the rule of European law. I should like seriously to consider his suggestion.

Mr. Marten

On Rhodesia and the Foreign Ministers of the Common Market, as all the EEC countries are in favour of a transfer to majority rule as speedily as possible—one of the few occasions on which they have spoken with one voice—will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether Common Market Ministers agree with Dr. Kissinger's policy as well?

Mr. Crosland

Common Market Ministers have certainly reinforced and publicly supported the Prime Minister's statement of 22nd March. As I understand Dr. Kissinger's speech—like the hon. Gentleman, I have read only a summary of it—it is very much on the same lines as the Prime Minister's statement. If so—I do not know whether there are differences in detail—I think that it can be assumed that the Common Market Ministers support it.

Mr. Jay

Is my right hon. Friend wholly satisfied with the Common Market fisheries policy?

Mr. Crosland

No, Sir. Even though people in Chester do not know where Grimsby is, I shall certainly make sure that other countries of the Common Market know where it is. My right hon. Friend will not be surprised to hear that I propose to take a personal interest in the renegotiation of the common fisheries policy, which is absolutely crucial to the future of the British fishing industry.