HC Deb 05 July 1995 vol 263 c368
6. Mr. Dykes

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to present new proposals for European Union developments in the Spanish presidency period which begins on 1 July. [30900]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. David Davis)

May I seek your indulgence, Madam Speaker, to add my comments with respect to the last appearance at the Dispatch Box of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary? I express my personal sadness at that. It has been a great privilege and, indeed, an education to serve under him and I look forward to his continuing to keep me in line from the Back Benches.

We shall continue to press for developments that will increase the competitiveness of European industries, create jobs and secure a better return from the application of Community resources.

Mr. Dykes

I thank my hon. Friend for his remarks about our right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary which, I am sure, will be greeted with acclaim in all parts of the House.

As we are back at the heart of Europe after yesterday's dramatic events, does my hon. Friend agree that we can now set aside the corrosive British disease of "pas trop de zèle"—excuse me for using the French words, Madam Speaker—which should be translated, in the words of the headmaster of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's old school, as, "I distrust enthusiasm of any kind"? Does my hon. Friend agree that we can now switch to Ministers appearing to sound enthusiastic about Europe, as they do about other Government policies?

Mr. Davis

My hon. Friend and I sometimes see the same coin from opposite sides. There is no lack of enthusiasm among Ministers for the Europe that we want to create—a Europe of free markets, a Europe of free movement and a Europe of nation states.

Mr. Watson

We are now in the Spanish presidency and the Minister will be aware that one of the outstanding issues relating to Spain is the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement. Will he give an undertaking that the Government will include in those discussions firm statements to the Moroccan Government that they must give way on the outstanding referendum on Western Sahara before any accommodation will be given to them in terms of renewal of the fisheries agreement?

Mr. Davis

These matters are not linked, but we will certainly not do anything to prejudice the question of Western Sahara.