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Treaty Of Rome

Volume 894: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations that Articles 92 and 93 of the Treaty of Rome should be applied with a high degree of flexibility.

Our objectives on the retention of those powers needed to pursue effective regional and industrial policies were satisfactorily achieved in renegotiation, but I can assure my hon. Friend that we would make representations if they seemed necessary.

Does my right hon. Friend accept that it is frequently the task of a Labour Government to distort competition, contrary to the terms of those Articles? Will he attempt to ensure that the Labour Government are free to apply their policies towards industry without interference by the Commissioners, who, as he knows, are not subject to the right of veto in this respect?

It is important to approach Community policy and the policy of the Labour Party not as matters of semantics but as matters of reality. I have no doubt that a Labour Government would be able to do what they wished within the Treaty of Rome and within the Community.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give a categorical assurance that the EEC will have no control over the constitution, financial powers and autonomy of the Scottish Development Agency?

I think that I can give that assurance, but I am reluctant to give an assurance as total as that on any occasion without suitable notice. If I cannot give such an assurance I shall gladly write to the hon. Member about it, and if I am wrong I have no doubt that he will publish my refutation of my own answer.