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International Energy Agency

Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement about the latest meeting of the International Energy Agency.

The International Energy Agency's Governing Board met in Paris on 19th and 20th March. It agreed three inter-related measures of co-operation in the accelerated development of new energy sources. It also discussed the approach that participating countries would adopt in the dialogue between oil consumers and producers, the preparatory meeting for which is taking place in Paris today. 7th April.

Since the agency has powers which are a good deal more supranational than any possessed by the EEC, including powers relating to the allocation of our oil supplies, will the Minister ask his right hon. Friend to seek a suitable occasion to explain how he supports British membership of the agency while opposing British membership of the EEC?

There is a clear distinction between the two sorts of association. The International Energy Agency is concerned to deal with the situation where there is a shortfall in oil supplies, and the automatic arrangements come into effect in that arrangement. They are different sorts of organisations, but both involve a certain element of diminution of sovereignty.

What is the justification for this body taking measures to keep up the price of oil?

The body is proposing to explore the possibility of having a floor price for oil to preserve the investments which some other countries, including this one, are making in alternative energy sources.

Do the Government intend to bring the agreement before the House of Commons? Is any action required by this House before the Government can ratify the agreement, as they have to do before the end of May?

I think that the agreement is published as a Command Paper, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman and many of his hon. Friends have read it already. It requires to be ratified by the House.