HC Deb 02 November 1994 vol 248 cc1563-4
22. Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a further statement on United Kingdom policy towards the further enlargement of the European Union to encompass the countries of central and eastern Europe.

Mr. David Davis

As I have already said, we support the eastward enlargement of the European Union. At the Essen Council, in conjunction with the Commission and the German presidency, we shall be looking for ways to help that process take place, including substantial measures, as I have said, in trade liberalisation, political dialogue and integration with the single market.

Mr. Brown

This is the first opportunity that I have had to congratulate my hon. Friend and next-door neighbour on his new responsibilities. Will he confirm that the impetus for the enlargement process with regard to eastern Europe has so far come largely from the efforts of the United Kingdom? Will he give an assurance and an undertaking that that impetus, which so far has been stimulated by this country, will continue?

Mr. Davis

My hon. Friend is right in a sense. It is rather more generally a mark of the success of our view of the future of the European Union. That view has been taken up by many other countries and many others subscribe to it. However, it is not the only example. One could also say that we have been successful in pushing the causes of subsidiarity, of enlargement—which my hon. Friend mentioned—and of the single market, and our arguments on deregulation with respect to increasing employment in the EU are now also winning the day.

Mr. O'Hara

With regard to enlargement, will the Minister give an assurance that the British Government will not make the accession of Cyprus to the European Union conditional on the prior resolution of the current situation in Cyprus?

Mr. Davis

Clearly, the division of the island of Cyprus is a problem for us, but we shall look at the matter in January.

Mr. Simon Coombs

What more can my hon. Friend and the Department do to encourage and promote cultural and trading links with the countries of central and eastern Europe, so that British influence in those areas can be sustained by direct contacts?

Mr. Davis

A great deal is already happening. As part of the PHARE programme, British companies are winning between 16 and 17 per cent. of technical advice contracts. That is already leading to enormous influence for British ideas in eastern Europe.