HC Deb 20 July 1983 vol 46 cc370-1
64. Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards further enlargement of the European Community after the accession of Spain and Portugal.

Mr. Rifkind

This is a hypothetical question. If there were further applications for European Community membership, the Community would need to consider them on their merits in accordance with article 237 of the Treaty of Rome.

Mr. Haselhurst

Is it the non-hypothetical policy of Her Majesty's Government actively to encourage the enlargement of the Community, especially by the accession of other Scandinavian countries?

Mr. Rifkind

It is for any European state that shares our democratic and parliamentary traditions to apply, if it so wishes, for membership of the Community. Any application would then be considered in accordance with the terms of the treaty.

Mr. Heffer

Will the hon. Gentleman explain the exact nature of the Government's policy on the accession of Spain? Yesterday his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) that Spain cannot enter the EC until the restrictions on the border between Spain and Gibraltar are lifted."—[Official Report, 19 July 1983; Vol. 46, c. 178.] The Foreign Office has issued a statement today stating that the issue between Gibraltar and Britain is something quite separate from Spain's entry into tie EC. What is the Government's policy? Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell us who is speaking for the Government. Is it the Foreign Office or the Prime Minister?

Mr. Rifkind

It is the British Government's desire that Spain should become a member of the Community. If it wishes to do so, it must recognise that Gibraltar is part of the Community and that it would be inconceivable if Spain, as a member of the Community, did not allow movement across its frontiers with Gibraltar similar to that which it would provide for other member countries.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

Before coming to any agreement on the accession of Spain and Portugal, will the Government ensure that British horticulture will not be ruined and that the transitional period will be sufficiently long to prevent such damage?

Mr. Rifkind

It is likely that Spain will require a long transitional period before becoming a full member of the Community. I can assure my hon. Friend that the considerations that she has raised will be taken into account during the negotiations.