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European Economic Community

Volume 828: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1971

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asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a further statement on the proposed summit meeting between the members of the European Economic Community and the four applicant countries.

I have been asked to reply.

It was agreed at the meeting in Rome on 6th November of the Foreign Ministers of the Ten that the preparation and convening of a summit conference of the Ten during 1972 should be a matter for all ten countries. As yet, the time and location of the conference have not been settled. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's support was clearly expressed in his Zurich speech in September.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. What arrangements have been made for keeping the applicant countries in touch with members of the Six on matters of mutual concern in the period between the signing of the Treaty and full membership?

Everyone accepts that it is very important that the various countries should keep in touch on these matters. I could not give detailed arrangements, but the principle of close and continuous consultation is certainly accepted.

The hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) mentioned keeping the applicant countries in touch. Could the right hon. Gentleman arrange to keep the House in touch by arranging for us to have a sight of the 2,000-odd regulations which we shall be asked to pass in toto? The Treaty will be signed in January, and we cannot get copies of these regulations. Surely we are entitled to see them before we sign.

I am sure that, when the House comes to consider these matters, all necessary information will be made available.