HC Deb 20 May 1981 vol 5 cc280-2
35. Mr. Hicks

asked the Lord Privy Seal what plans he has to discuss future development of the European Community with his European colleagues; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Ian Gilmour

The major topic relating to the future development of the Community which I expect to discuss with my European colleagues is restructuring of the Community budget. The Commission is producing a report on this in accordance with the agreement of 30 May 1980. That is likely to be discussed at the next meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 and 23 June, and subsequently at the European Council meeting a week later.

Mr. Hicks

In view of Mr. Mitterrand's somewhat belligerent remarks on another important subject during the recent French Presidential election campaign, namely, the common fisheries policy, and his observations on the French attitude hitherto, can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that there will be no weakening of the United Kingdom position? When are negotiations likely to be resumed?

Sir Ian Gilmour

I assure my hon. Friend that there will be no weakening of the United Kingdom position, but, for the reasons that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow), I cannot give a date for the resumption of negotiations. We stand ready to begin negotiations at any time.

Mr. James Lamond

Before the EEC is extended to include Turkey, will the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of politely reminding Turkey that its application might be more successful if it were to withdraw its troops now occupying the sovereign State which is a member of the Commonwealth and a signatory to the Helsinki Final Act, of whose integrity and sovereignty Great Britain is a guarantor, namely, the State of Cyprus?

Sir Ian Gilmour

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that there is no immediate application by Turkey to join the EEC and it is not eligible to do so because there are no parliamentary and democratic institutions in that country at present. I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman about the desirability of a settlement in Cyprus. He will know that inter-communal talks are taking place under the auspices of the United Nations. We give those talks our full support and hope that after the elections of both sides in Cyprus the talks will make considerable progress.

Mr. Stokes

Will my right hon. Friend make clear, in the talks taking place within the EEC, the Government's concern to deal with an urgent matter that concerns the whole world, namely, the taking of concerted measures to deal with the menace of international terrorism?

Sir Ian Gilmour

I agree with my hon. Friend that international terrorism is a considerable menace. He will know the Government's position on that. It is shared by all the other members of the EEC.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that we shall look to the Government to press for fundamental reforms in the talks on the restructuring of the budget, including the point that Britain should not have to contribute more to the budget than it receives? Is he further aware that we believe that much less should be spent on the CAP and that budgetary arrangements that apply for regional policy and the social fund should apply also to the CAP? What proposals do the Government have, or is it another case of the Foreign Office having neither the will nor the imagination to put forward any constructive proposals?

Sir Ian Gilmour

There are a number of non sequiturs in that question. It is remarkable that the right hon. Gentleman should complain about our contribution to the EEC budget when we remember that while he was at the Treasury nothing was done to improve or rectify the position. We have achieved a two-thirds reduction in our contribution. I do not propose to set out our negotiating position. There is a later question on the Order Paper relating to that subject.

Sir Nigel Fisher

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, although the CAP, the fisheries issue and the weight of heavy lorries are important matters, it is even more important to work for greater cohesion and collaboration in reaching common defence and foreign policies with the EEC?

Sir Ian Gilmour

I agree with my hon. Friend that we wish to have as many common policies as possible for greater convergence and integration. That is certainly true of foreign policy, but my hon. Friend will agree that NATO must remain the proper forum for defence policies.

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