HC Deb 18 February 1976 vol 905 cc1282-3
35. Mr. Arnold

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further progress has been made towards a further revision of the EEC's relationship with Spain; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. James Callaghan

The Council of Ministers agreed on 9th February to a resumption of the trade negotiations with Spain suspended last year. Relations on a broader basis will depend on the course of developments in Spain.

Mr. Arnold

I recognise that we are not solely responsible for the formulation of policy in the EEC towards Spain. Will the Foreign Secretary none the less again reassure the House that the Government will make every effort to encourage the new Spanish Government to become our partners in Europe?

Mr. Callaghan

I think I answered that question earlier this afternoon. I repeat, it must depend on the extent to which Spain moves in a democratic direction, looks to universal suffrage, and gives the opportunity for free collective bargaining to trade unions in that country.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Does my right hon. Friend agree that at present Spain is still very much a police State? Does he further agree with the sentiment, expressed at that great rally in London last Saturday, that before there can be any closer relationship with Spain it must be made into a fully democratic State?

Mr. Callaghan

I think that the last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question repeated what I have just said.

We have a choice between uttering outright condemnations on every opportunity and trying to ensure the success of the manifold forces in Spain which are working for a return to democracy. I choose the latter. That is in the best health of Europe and of the Spanish people themselves. But my hon. Friend is right about there being a long way for Spain to go before it can in any sense be counted as a democracy.