HC Deb 05 February 1973 vol 850 cc14-6W
42. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give the dates on which the Council of Ministers of the EEC will be discussing the various draft regulations, directives and proposals made available to the House of Commons since 1st January, 1973; and if he will make a statement on what method he proposes for keeping the House informed of such dates so that it can express its views on each such regulation, directive or proposal.

Mr. Anthony Royle

It is not possible to give dates because proposals put forward by the Commission normally require first to be considered in other institutions of the Community and are inscribed on the agenda of the Council of Ministers, if at all, only shortly before the council meets.

The question of keeping Parliament informed about questions to be considered by the European Economic Community Council of Ministers is to be discussed by the Select Committee to consider procedures for scrutiny of proposals for European Community secondary legislation. It would not be appropriate to anticipate the decisions of of the committee.

Mr. Bishop

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in order to keep the public aware of the decisions of the EEC which affect them, he will arrange for copies of all relevant proceedings, articles, treaties and amendments to be made generally available at places for the public convenience, having regard to the fact that ignorance of the law is no reason for not complying with it.

Mr. John Davies

I agree that it is important that the public should be kept well informed about European Communities matters. The more important developments will normally be covered in the press and other media. The Official Journal and other Community publications are also readily available through Her Majesty's Stationery Office, as agents for the publishers. But other possible ways of improving public access to such information are being looked into.

Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the agreement between Sweden and the EEC is a Community treat; and if so when he proposes to make an order under Section 2(1) of the European Communities Act.

Mr. Anthony Royle

The agreement between Sweden and the EEC was signed by representatives of the Council of the European Communities on the 22nd July, 1972 in accordance with the provisions of Article 228 of the EEC Treaty.

Since Her Majesty's Government were not signatories to the agreement, it is, by virtue of Section 1(2) of the European Communities Act 1972, a Community treaty as defined in the Act, without the need for an Order in Council under Section 1(3).

Mr. Shore

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the agreement between the EEC and Greece in 1961, setting up an association between them, and the association agreement with Turkey in 1963 are included among the pre-Accession Treaties entered into by the United Kingdom in accordance with paragraph 7 of Part I of Schedule 1 of the 1972 European Communities Act; and whether he intends to make an Order in Council to that effect.

Mr. Anthony Royle

The association agreement of 1961 between the EEC and Greece and the association agreement of 1963 between the EEC and Turkey are pre-accession treaties for the purpose of the European Communities Act 1972.

Protocols to adapt both association agreements in the light of the circumstances of enlargement of the Community are still under negotiation. It is consequently premature to forecast the timing of any Order in Council which might be required in relation to these Protocols.

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