HC Deb 30 March 1977 vol 929 cc405-6
42. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements have been made by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the EEC to co-ordinate policy in respect of the North-South dialogue.

Mr. Judd

The Foreign Affairs Council on 8th March reviewed the Community's position in respect of the North-South dialogue. A common opening position for the Common Fund Negotiating Conference was agreed. The Foreign Affairs Council on 5th April will further co-ordinate the Community's position on the major issues arising in the CIEC, in which the Community participates as a single delegation. Meanwhile, the process of co-ordination is continuing at official level both within the Community and with the seven other industrialised countries participating in the CIEC.

Mr. Spearing

My hon. Friend did not mention the Council of Ministers, on which we had a statement earlier this week. Is he aware that the Prime Minister drew a distinction between plans for "a" common fund and plans for "the" common fund? Will he say where any citizen of the EEC can find a specific authoritative statement dealing with what the Heads of State agreed, and what is the EEC's attitude to a common fund?

Mr. Judd

I am sure that my hon. Friend, with his usual careful attention to detail, will have scrutinised what the Prime Minister said in his statement after returning from Rome. It is clear that we are committed to working towards international commodity agreements and, as a Community, are prepared seriously to examine the rôle of a common fund in fulfilling that programme.

Mr. Blaker

The Minister will recall that the Prime Minister has made clear that the Community proposes to call on countries of Eastern Europe to make a more adequate contribution towards development aid. How does the Community propose to undertake that task?

Mr. Judd

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are concerned that Eastern European countries have not been pulling their weight in this respect. We must now work out precise techniques to make the point clear.

Mr. Hooley

What is the EEC's attitude towards expanding the resources of the World Bank?

Mr. Judd

In our general approach to development matters, I must remind my hon. Friend that we are the second largest contributor to the World Bank. That remains our position within the Community and outside.

Mr. Tapsell

Is the Minister aware of the extent to which Third World opinion is concerned by the degree to which the EEC, together with North America, is pre-empting the fossil fuel resources of the world while at the same time making it difficult for nuclear power to be made available to the Third World? Will he draw the attention of his EEC colleages to this problem?

Mr. Judd

I assure the hon. Gentleman that members of the EEC are well aware of this problem and give a great deal of time to considering the matter in depth, and that they will see how a fair and equitable policy can be worked out in the interests of the developing countries as well as of the industrialised world.

Mr. MacFarquhar

As well as being concerned with the aid effort from Eastern Europe, is not the EEC equally concerned with the aid effort from Japan? Will he take the opportunity, when he next meets Japanese Foreign Ministers, of suggesting that much of the disagreement on trading matters between Europe and Japan could be mitigated if Japan were to assume some of the aid burden within the world?

Mr. Judd

I recognise the force of what my hon. Friend has said, but that is a matter for the OECD and the Development Assistance Committee within the OECD.