HC Deb 12 May 1993 vol 224 c788
3. Mr. Jenkin

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Hungary in the light of his recent visit to Hungary.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Douglas Hurd)

I accompanied Her Majesty the Queen on part of her highly successful state visit to Hungary last week. I have had talks with the President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. Our relations are in good shape. The Hungarians know that we support their wish to become full members of the European Community when practicable and that meanwhile we are working to make a success of the Community's association agreement with them, particularly by opening the Community's market increasingly to their goods. British investment in Hungary and trade with Hungary are growing and there is scope for plenty more of both. The British know-how fund is an acknowledged success, with many good projects coming forward.

Mr. Jenkin

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the early accession of Hungary and other states like it to the European Community is at the core of our relations with that country? Can he say when that might be? As the European Parliament's consent is required for the accession of new members to the treaty of Rome, will existing member states be required to give up more power in order to obtain that consent?

Mr. Hurd

I do not think that my hon. Friend's second point is very strong. The treaty of Rome provides under article 237 that the Parliament must agree to new accessions. That is not changed under the proposed treaty of Maastricht. Any change in the powers of Parliament is a matter for treaty. But my hon. Friend is right on his first point. Full membership of the Community is one of Hungary's main objectives and we are in favour of its achieving that as soon as practicable. It knows and we know that it is not possible to set an exact date at present.

Dr. Howells

Did the Secretary of State make it clear to the Hungarian Government that the British Government would take a dim view of any encouragement that might be given to the ethnic Hungarians who live in Transylvania and to the secessionist groups that are beginning to surface there?

Mr. Hurd

The Hungarians expressed the view clearly to me that they do not seek a change in the international borders of Romania, but they are understandably anxious that the Hungarians in Transylvania should be given a proper degree of autonomy.

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