HC Deb 22 May 1985 vol 79 cc1002-3
11. Mr. Redmond

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I met Chancellor Kohl at Chequers on 18 May. I next expect to meet him at the Milan European Council on 28 June.

Mr. Redmond

Will the Foreign Secretary give an assurance that, when he next meets Chancellor Kohl, he will discuss with him the serious position between America and Nicaragua? Will he consider a joint approach to bring sanity to American policy on that country'

Sir Geoffrey Howe

There are questions on Nicaragua further down on the Order Paper. I can only confirm that at the meeting that took place between the Heads of State and Foreign Ministers at the Bonn economic summit Nicaragua was one of the questions that was discussed.

Sir Anthony Meyer

When my right hon. and learned Friend next meets Chancellor Kohl, will he explain to him how sad it would be if Germany, which has as much interest as the United Kingdom in making a success of the European Community, were, by wanton resort to the use of the veto, to make the process of necessary reform quite impossible?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

My hon. Friend raises an important matter about which I know he has thought a great deal. The recourse by the Federal German Republic at this month's Agriculture Council to the Luxembourg compromise confirms a political reality, which is that no member state is ready to be voted down when an important national interest is at stake. It is our view that, to prevent that right being abused, a member of the Council insisting upon the veto should, through a special procedure of the Council, explain fully and more formally why his Government consider that a vital interest is at stake. It is important to reach a practical balance which recognises national interests while enabling the Community to proceed apace.

Dr. Owen

If the German Chancellor is, rightly, to continue championing the cause of European unity and more majority voting, would it not be better if he stated unequivocally that he believes that the Luxembourg compromise is necessary for the development of the Community and that, if there is to be a treaty amendment to allow majority voting, the new treaty must incorporate the Luxembourg compromise?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The important feature is that the Federal German Government have practically exercised and recognised the Luxembourg compromise. The other important feature is to ensure that we are capable of achieving majority voting more effectively and more frequently, as that will enable us to make progress.

Mr. Budgen

Will my right hon. and learned Friend tell Chancellor Kohl that it is now clear from Germany's attitude towards the price of cereals that there will be no fundamental reform of the common agricultural policy until national parliaments say that they will give no more money to the EEC? Further, does he agree that it would be a good thing if the British Parliament started the process?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

No. I shall leave my hon. Friend to transmit his own message for himself. The result of decisions taken in 1984 and subsequently is that substantial steps are being taken towards reform of the CAP. Price cuts and freezes have been applied in a number of areas. The milk quota has been established and reinforced. It is important that the same discipline should apply to cereal prices.

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