HC Deb 15 June 1994 vol 244 cc619-20
8. Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's relations with other members of the European Union.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

We enjoy excellent relations with other members of the European Union.

Mr. Jones

Is not it clear that the Government's vacillation on policy on the European Union was decisively rejected by the British people in last week's elections? Has not the Foreign Secretary ducked out of the question because his party had one of the biggest political drubbings of modern times?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

The Labour party was desperate to try to keep the elections focused on every issue except Europe. The Government are certain that, when we engaged the electorate on the European issues, we had the right policies which struck the right notes.

Mr. Waterson

Does my hon. Friend agree that in the recent European elections, there was a significant move against the kind of socialism and centralism supported by the Opposition in those countries where the electorate seemed to have focused on the European issues?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

My hon. Friend is right. It is noticeable that the other Opposition party with a centralising manifesto and a willingness to abandon the national veto—the Liberal Democratic party—failed conspicuously to live up to its expectations.

Mr. Hoon

Does the Minister remember the Foreign Secretary describing the idea of a two-speed Europe as a disaster? If so, how does he reconcile that with the Prime Minister's call for a multi-speed Europe? Surely a multi-speed Europe must involve at least two speeds?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

There are two speeds in Europe—we are in the fast lane and the Opposition parties are in the slow lane.

Mr. Forman

What are the Government's relations with France and Germany? Are they good or improving? Do the Government intend to work closely with those two Governments in the next year or so, since they will be in the chair of the European Union?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

We have extremely good relations with both countries. We had a succesful summit with the French Government last year, and a recent one with German Ministers in London. As my hon. Friend reminded us, the French and German presidencies of European Union are coming up and we intend to work closely with both countries on a wide range of issues.

Mr. Benn

Will the many policy statements made by the Prime Minister during the European elections be formally tabled by the British Government at the Council of Ministers and at heads of state meetings that will occur during the next few months?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

All the policy pronouncements by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister represent a known British position and will, of course, be discussed with other member states during the coming months.

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