HC Deb 20 March 1985 vol 75 cc860-1
71. Mr. Lambie

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to secure from the European Economic Community the United Kingdom abatement of £625 million in respect of 1984.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The timing of our abatement remains as laid down in the Fountainebleau conclusions, which provided for it to be made available in 1985.

Mr. Lambie

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in spite of his answer, still prepared to guarantee that the abatement will, despite other factors, be given in 1985? If not, why have the Government agreed to supplementary loans this year totalling £350 million?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The Community is committed by the Fountainebleau agreement to the introduction of new own resources not later than 1 January next year. There is no dispute in the Council that the Fountainebleau agreement must be implemented, and that in accordance with it we must receive the £590 million abatement of our 1984 budgetary contribution in the course of 1985. At this moment in the Council we are continuing to press for the establishment of the instruments that will assure that.

Mr. Marlow

If my right hon. and learned Friend were in the happy situation that he was owed £625 million by somebody, would he lend that person more money until he had his money back?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

If I were in the relationship of a partnership with the Community, in which we are working together, and in which I know, as I have told the House, that there is no dispute in the Council or the Community that the Fountainebleau agreement must be implemented on time, I should approach the matter on the basis of that fact.