HC Deb 02 February 1977 vol 925 cc546-7
38. Sir A. Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list, in order of priority, the objectives which he hopes to achieve during his tenure of the Presidency of the EEC Council.

Mr. Crosland

I made a speech to the European Parliament in Luxembourg on 12th January, in which I outlined the objectives of Her Majesty's Government during our Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Copies were placed in the Vote Office on 12th January.

Sir A. Meyer

May I remind the Foreign Secretary that it would be humiliating if he were to leave the chair of the Council of Ministers without having ensured that a draft Bill for the introduction of direct elections is well on its way to completion in this House? Does he not agree that Britain, of all countries, should be the one to set the lead in this matter?

Mr. Crosland

I take note of the hon. Gentleman's point.

Mr. MacFarquhar

In view of my right hon. Friend's previous assurance on direct elections, will he go further and say that when the draft Bill is brought forward the Government will put it through the House with the same determination with which they are pursuing the devolution Bill?

Mr. Crosland

I hope that it will go a little faster than that.

Mr. Amery

Does the Foreign Secretary agree that the greatest threat to the survival of Western Europe comes from the growing attack on its sources of raw materials resulting from the expansion of Soviet imperialism? Does he agree that the first priority should be to seek to mobilise the opinion of European Governments and, through them, the Governments of the United States and Japan in order to safeguard Western civilization and industrial pluralist democracies from this danger?

Mr. Crosland

I certainly wish to save Western civilisation and pluralist democracy. That seems an admirable aim. I do not think that the main threat to them comes from that direction, but as an aim and objective it is one that will be shared by the whole House.

Mr. Jay

Does my right hon. Friend agree with the recent statement by the European Movement that direct elections are intended as a first step towards a federal State?

Mr. Crosland

No, Sir.

Mr. Blaker

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that it is just possible that not every hon. Member has read from end to end the speech to which he referred earlier? Will he take the opportunity of reaffirming his commitment to expand the scope of a co-ordinated foreign policy in the Community as one of its most important objectives.

Mr. Crosland

I readily confirm that.

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