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European Community

Volume 934: debated on Wednesday 29 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is able to give an assessment of the benefits gained in the energy field since the United Kingdom became a member of the EEC.

It is too early to attempt any real assessment of benefits gained. I have been seeking a realistic Community energy policy to the benefit of the United Kingdom and other member States. The recent agreement on the Euratom loans scheme, the provision of loans and grants to the coal industry by the European Coal and Steel Community, and of loans by the European Investment Bank to the gas, coal and electricity supply industries are examples of what has been done. In addition, along with other member States we have discussed energy conservation, where there have been many useful exchanges of views and experience. There has been similar progress already in the field of research and development, where a modest four-year programme financed by the Community and research organisations in member States on a shared cost basis is under way to study energy conservation, solar energy, geothermal energy, production and use of hydrogen, and system modelling, and where several United Kingdom organisations have already been awarded contracts by the Commission. We also participate in the Community's research programmes on radioactive waste management, plutonium recycling and radiobiology, and in the Euratom fusion programme of which the fusion work of the UKAEA's Culham laboratory forms a part.