HC Deb 17 February 1976 vol 905 cc1128-9
Q5. Mr. Hurd

asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to visit Luxembourg.

The Prime Minister

I shall be meeting Mr. Thorn, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, when he visits London next week and I expect to see him again in Luxembourg at the next meeting of the European Council on 1st and 2nd April, Sir.

Mr. Hurd

Will the Prime Minister confirm that one of the most important subjects at that meeting in Luxembourg will be the proposals for a more efficient concerted European foreign policy? In view of the tense situation in Africa, will the Prime Minister, in advance of that meeting in Luxembourg and despite his complacent reply to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, take an initiative now to bring about concerted Community policy on Southern Africa which might deter the Soviet Union and her friends from further adventures in that continent?

The Prime Minister

I entirely agree with the way in which the hon. Gentleman formulated that supplementary question. We are trying to achieve a common policy on these matters; indeed, a meeting is taking place today. It has been made a little difficult because we do not have full support for our insistence that the Nine should adopt a common policy in this respect.

Mr. Dalyell

Does the Prime Minister support the view that before anything is done in Brussels and facilities are eventually made available there, Luxembourg, and not Strasbourg should be the sole seat of the European Parliament? Does he know that it costs £1 million a year simply to move documents, apart from the energy expended by senior officials in travelling between the three points?

The Prime Minister

One answer might be to have fewer documents, provided always that the documents I submitted for consideration after my talks with the German Federal Chancellor about the adoption of a system akin to that of our Public Accounts Committee—which would strengthen the work of the Assembly—are not lost in the process.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

Will the Prime Minister take the occasion, amongst other no doubt more important matters, of seeking courteously to instruct the spokesmen for the Council of Ministers in the European Parliament, by exhortation if not example, in the art of answering parliamentary questions shortly and succinctly?

The Prime Minister

That is, first, because I get such strange questions from some Opposition Members and, secondly, because I always like to inform the House as fully as possible.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I am obliged to the House that we reached Question No. 5 to the Prime Minister today.