HC Deb 04 February 1992 vol 203 c128
Q2. Mr. Hunter

To ask the Prime Minister when he will next meet the Chancellor of Germany; and what issues he intends to discuss with him.

The Prime Minister

Chancellor Kohl and I are in frequent contact by telephone to discuss matters of mutual interest. I expect to meet him again soon, but I have no immediate plans to do so.

Mr. Hunter

Has my right hon. Friend noticed the extent to which the German economy has suffered from the worldwide slowdown and the fact that German output has decreased during the past two months for which figures are available? Does not that conclusively show that economic difficulties are not confined to the United Kingdom, as the Opposition try to claim?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend's question is more apposite than he might have imagined. He is entirely right. I have noticed that fact, even if the Opposition have not. Again, the Governor of the Bank of England noted yesterday that the recession has proved unexpectedly persistent in north America and that in continental Europe, Japan and elsewhere economic activity has slowed and unemployment has begun to rise. Only the Opposition adopt their typical stance. They ignore other countries' difficulties and concentrate solely on those in this country, to the damage of our interests.

Mr. Radice

After the two opt-outs negotiated by the Prime Minister at Maastricht, does Chancellor Kohl still think that the Prime Minister is a good European?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman had better ask Chancellor Kohl that question. I have enjoyed the closest possible co-operation with Chancellor Kohl in the past year and I intend to continue to do so in the same capacity in years to come.

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