HC Deb 13 June 1979 vol 968 cc425-7
28. Mr. Arnold

asked the Lord Privy Seal what further progress has been made on the enlargement of the EEC; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Ian Gilmour

The Greek accession treaty was signed in Athens on 28 May. My right hon. and noble Friend signed for the United Kingdom. Meetings at deputy level with the Portuguese took place on 4 April and 6 June when Portugal's integration into the European Coal and Steel Community and Euratom was discussed. In the Spanish negotiations work has continued on the preparation of the Community's position in readiness for the beginning of substantive negotiations in the autumn.

Mr. Arnold

With reference to the Portuguese negotiations, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he will be able to achieve adequate safeguards for the United Kingdom textile industry?

Sir I. Gilmour

The Government are very intent on ensuring that the accession agreements include safeguard arrangements so that the textile industries of the new member countries are absorbed gradually and without disruption.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at present the Portuguese Government are being asked to make changes in their agricultural exports which would damage the British consumer and do a great deal of damage to their own internal economy? What will the right hon. Gentleman do to help them?

Sir I. Gilmour

I am not at all clear that the changes to which the hon. Lady refers—

Mrs. Dunwoody

Then the right hon. Gentleman should be clear.

Sir I. Gilmour

—will damage our economy. In fact they are likely to mean that some agricultural products will reach us more cheaply when tariff barriers have been removed.

Mr. Emery

Will my right hon. Friend make certain that the next meeting makes it clear that there is the greatest wish to have friendly relationships with the United States of America? However, the United States' present policy on oil is very detrimental to the Community. If America really wished to help in the oil situation, a further drawing on her own domestic indigenous supply would be of very considerable assistance.

Sir I. Gilmour

Of course, the Community, whether enlarged or unenlarged, is extremely anxious to maintain close and friendly relations with the United States. That is a basic postulate and necessity of the whole Western position and the whole Western Alliance. The Government share my hon. Friend's concern, which has been expressed by other members of the Community, about the possible effects of American policy on European oil supplies.