§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What was the outcome of the ministerial meeting of the Inter-Governmental Conference on Political Union on 15th April.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness):
The ministerial meeting of the Inter-Governmental Conference on Political Union on 15th April, attended by my honourable friend the Minister of State, discussed Presidency proposals on a common foreign and security policy and the powers of the European Parliament.
In discussion of a common foreign and security policy my honourable friend the Minister of State restated our arguments, as set out in the Answer given to the House on 7th March by my noble friend Lord Reay, for strengthening co-operation among the Twelve on foreign and security issues and for strengthening the Western European Union (WEU) as a bridge between NATO and the Twelve. There continues to he a range of views among other member states on this and related issues.
A range of views was expressed, too, on the Presidency proposals for strengthening the European Parliament's role in the legislative procedure through the introduction of "co-decision" procedures. Several member states. like the UK, were unable to accept the proposals.
Ministers will continue discussion of both these subjects at future meetings of special representatives and of ministers. These meetings will also consider the composite text of all proposed treaty amendments now circulated by the Presidency.