HC Deb 21 March 1984 vol 56 cc1044-5
53. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the progress being made in the current negotiations on Common Market reform.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

No Sir, but the hard decisions that the Community must take cannot be avoided. We shall continue to press for the reforms that are in the interest of the Community as a whole.

Mr. Taylor

Is it not ridiculous to talk about a net payment of £4,700 million to the Community in 10 years as "petty cash"? Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that he will have the support of the vast majority of the British people in pressing for a fair and permanent settlement of the budget arrangements, particularly when all our payments are allied to a daily trade deficit of £20 million in manufactured goods?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend's description of the importance of the issues at stake in the budgetary negotiations. That was the very reason why my right hon. Friend and I worked as hard as we did to try to reach agreement on that matter.

Ms. Gould

Did the proposals on the CAP meet the precondition of fundamental reform laid down by the Foreign Secretary?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The proposals on agricultural policy will be considered further at next week's Agriculture Council. They went a substantial way in the direction of reform, because to secure acceptance of a formidable reduction in total milk output was a very major step forward. One of the matters that concerned us yesterday was the extent to which that achievement was in danger of being eroded. Other steps—for example, in relation to cereals and other commodities—represented progress in the right direction.

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