HL Deb 18 March 1975 vol 358 cc630-1

"Since the turn of the year, and in the context of our renegotiations, the Commission have had an intensive discussion with us and other Governments and have now formulated the principles under which they propose to implement their role in the co-ordination of regional aids.

"Their hierarchy of assisted areas conforms to ours. No forms of national aids are ruled out in principle, and there is no interference with our existing regional aids. There is a particular problem relating to assistance given by the Highlands and Islands Development Board, for which a derogation is being obtained. In discussing the way in which regional aids might be changed to meet new circumstances, the Commission have furthermore acknowledged that national governments are the best judges of what is required in their own country, and that the Commission will be prepared to consider changes in national aid systems compatible with the Common Market, when they are justified by problems of employment, unemployment, migration and by other valid requirements of regional development policy which constitute essential national problems. The Commission have further accepted that urgent action by Governments may be necessary and that Treaty procedures will not hold this up.