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European Communities (Greek Accession) Bill

Volume 972: debated on Tuesday 30 October 1979

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Order for Second Reading read.

4.11 p.m.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I must first apologise to the House for two errors that crept into the original text of the Bill. The Greek Treaty of Accession was of course signed in Athens on 28 May and not in Brussels on 24 May as the text originally stated. Those errors have now been rectified and I regret the confusion.

The Bill gives legal force as far as this country is concerned to a most important, welcome, and historic development—important for Greece, important for the Community, and important for the United Kingdom.

The strict purpose of the Bill is clear enough. It is to ensure that, once Greece enters the Community on 1 January 1981, the United Kingdom, for its part, honours in full the obligations undertaken in the treaties of accession between Greece and the Community. The Bill will achieve that by amending the European Communities Act 1972 to provide that Greece's treaties of accession to the EEC, Euratom and the Coal and Steel Community are included among the basic Community treaties referred to in section 1 of the European Communities Act 1972.

This is a dry legal summary of what the Bill is about and such a summary fails to do justice to its political and international significance. In fact, the Bill is about welcoming Greece, which has not long emerged from the grip of a military dictatorship, into the mainstream of Western European democracy.

Since 1962, when Greece became the first associate of the Community, the Community and Greece have looked forward to the day when Greece would be able to take up its European birthright and join the European Economic Community as a full member, as provided for in the Treaty of Athens. That objective suffered a temporary setback during the years when the colonels held sway, but when the colonels had been toppled the new Greek Government, led with vision and statesmanship by their Prime Minister, Mr. Karamanlis, whom we welcomed to London last week, was quick to identify Greece's re-emergent democracy with her long-established European vocation and applied to join the Community.

Greece without hesitation espoused the ideals of the founders of the Community, enshrined in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome, notably the aspirations:
"to preserve and strengthen peace and liberty … to ensure … economic and social progress … to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe."
Greece's accession is a potent reminder of those post-war ideals upon which the Community is founded. Her accession perhaps also can be seen as a fitting repayment by the Europe of today of the cultural and political debt that we all owe to a Greek heritage almost 3,000 years old.

Greek accession has, as I have said, triple significance—for Greece, for the Community and for the United Kingdom. As far as Greece is concerned, I have already touched on the political significance of accession, the endorsement which it represents of Greece's democratic progress and of her decisive orientation towards Western Europe. But economically, too, accession will be of great importance to Greece. It will be a challenge and an opportunity.

The Community has shown understanding of the problems involved for Greece in agreeing to a number of transitional arrangements to ease adaptation, but Greece's readiness to shoulder the full range of Community obligations reflects her confidence in her ability successfully to do so, a confidence which I fully share.

The absorption of a tenth member is, of course, a significant event for the Community's institutions and mechanisms. Also of significance is the fact that Greek accession is the first stage of the Community's second enlargement. Portugal and Spain are waiting in the wings, both seeking membership of the Community for the same basically political reasons as Greece, and both having recently emerged, like Greece, from a period of repression.

Does the Lord Privy Seal intend to spell out some of the problems that could emerge as a result of Greece joining the Community? For example, will he explain some of the points made by Commissioner Giolitti in the document issued by the Commission last year? That made clear that there would be problems. I am not opposed to Greece joining the Community, but we ought to hear from the Government about their attitude in relation to some of the problems that are bound to arise.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, but I am only at the beginning of my speech. I shall deal later with the point that he has raised.

Absorption of three relatively less prosperous economies, each with a large agricultural sector, will aggravate a number of the problems which are already facing the Community. New strains will be put on the CAP, the regional and social funds and Community policies and institutions generally. It is important to recognise that, but in the Government's view the economic and financial costs of enlargement are outweighed by the political gains for Western democracy of a larger, stronger Europe. Our predecessors in office took the same view. We are fully committed to support for enlargement, and hope that both Portugal and Spain will be able to join within a reasonably short interval after Greece joins in January 1981.

That brings me to the significance of Greek accession for the United Kingdom. In the first place, accession will put our bilateral relations on a new footing, and will create between us even closer links. We have traditionally enjoyed excellent relations with Greece, politically, economically and culturally. Those relations will now take on new strength and permanency as a result of our working together inside the Community.

Secondly, Greece's accession will bring us certain economic benefits. Our exporters will be afforded new opportunities in one of the fastest growing markets in Europe as Greece dismantles its tariffs and other restrictions. At the same time, we shall enjoy improved access to the Mediterranean agricultural produce which Greece exports. Those are worthwhile gains.

Thirdly, there will, of course, be budgetary and economic costs. Our efforts to reduce our contribution to the budget as a whole will, if successful—and they must be successful—reduce correspondingly the budgetary cost of Greek accession.

Is it not likely that we shall import cotton and tobacco from Greece? What estimates have the Government made of the effect on traditional markets in the Third world from which we have obtained cotton and tobacco?

I shall shortly be dealing with that problem.

So far as economic costs are concerned, we must open our markets to Greece just as Greece is opening her market to us. To a large extent, our market is already open to Greece. For some years, tariffs against Greek-manufactured products have been zero. But, in a few sectors, especially textiles and clothing, where certain import restrictions have remained, we must expect to see increased imports from Greece. There is a safeguard clause in Greece's Treaty of Accession, which is designed to ensure that sensitive sectors in the economies of member States and Greece are protected against disruptive upsurges of imports. We hope that we shall never be put in the position of having to invoke the safeguard clause, but it is there if needed.

Any discussion of the significance of Greek accession would be incomplete without reference to Turkey and the problems of the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is understandably anxious that Greece's acession should not tilt the EEC against Turkey. We and our partners in the Nine are determined that this should not happen and have tried to reassure Turkey on this score. At the same time, efforts are being made to put the present economic relations between the Community and Turkey on to a sounder footing. Inevitably these efforts are now complicated by current political uncertainty in Turkey. But we shall persevere.

If Mr. Demirel should decide, after consideration, that Turkey wishes to exercise her right to apply for full membership of the EEC, what would be the Government's attitude? What advice would the Government give to their EEC partners on such an application?

As the hon. Gentleman correctly implies, Turkey has that right under the present agreement. But the question of timing is of deep importance to both Turkey and the EEC. I do not think that it is for me to offer Turkey public advice on that matter at this point.

I should like to single out the part played by Mr. Karamanlis himself. He set Greece on its European course 18 years ago, and he has been associated with this historic enterprise from start to finish. I invite the House to set its seal on what is, in large measure, Mr. Karamanlis's personal achievement.

4.22 p.m.

This is a small Bill, but, as the Lord Privy Seal has said, it is of major importance to Greece, to the European Community and to Britain. It is also a constitutional Bill apart from having much economic content. I hope and assume that its remaining stages will be taken on the Floor of the House.

The reason that the Bill is small is that the practice with Community subjects is that all matters of substance are excluded from the face of the Bill and thus from the direct scrutiny of the House. But behind the single clause that amends section 1(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 a clause in which, almost incredibly, two mistakes have so far been detected, there lies the whole content of the Treaty of Accession between Greece and the Community, all 250 pages of clauses, annexes, protocols, joint declarations and the like. I have no doubt that a number of matters contained in those pages will engage the attention of hon. Members on both sides of the House.

It is fair to say, however, that both the particular question of Greek membership and the wider question of enlargement from a Community of nine to a Community of 12 have been debated in this House on a number of occasions. In the debates on 17 June 1976, on 12 December 1977, when hon. Members discussed a Definition of Treaties Order, which included two protocols relating to Greece and Turkey, on 2 May 1978 and, most recently, on 14 November 1978 I do not recall a single vote against the principle of Greek membership, or enlargement generally; I recall, rather, a welcome from both sides of the House, although for very different reasons. Although the treaty itself was signed only on 28 May 1979, and although I am aware that there can be a great difference between the approval of a general proposition and the approval of a whole package of detailed arrangements, I find no reason to do other than reaffirm from the Opposition Front Bench the general welcome to Greek membership which Labour spokesmen have strongly expressed in previous debates.

My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, with his customary candour and detachment, said that the accession of a backward agricultural country to the Community would bring problems but that these would be offset by political advantages. Doubtless, in the interests of brevity, he did not identify these political advantages. As the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) has also said that he welcomes the political advantages, may we expect to hear from him a brief outline of these alleged advantages?

I do not believe that I need spend a great deal of time discussing the political advantages. I will have a lot to say, however, about the problems that I foresee will flow from Greek membership and enlargement generally. I wish to make some general observations about how those matters can be dealt with.

We are mindful of the fact that the Greek connection with the EEC long antedated our own. Greece's treaty of association goes back to 1961 and came into effect in 1962. That treaty was frozen during the interregnum of tyranny that Greece endured under its colonels from 1967 to 1974. But, with democracy restored, Greece applied for full membership in 1975. The treaty has been negotiated and completed in the intervening years. It will come into effect on 1 January 1981.

I reaffirm that we welcome Greece to the EEC, which we see, in spite of other major defects, as a league of democratic nations. We believe that democracy in Greece will be helped and strengthened by partnership with other European democratic nations. It would be a rebuff of the most appalling kind if the application of democratic Greece were to be turned down and its treaty rejected.

We also welcome the fact, in spite of the difficulties that it will present, that the relative poverty of Greece has not been made an obstacle to membership. If the EEC is genuinely open to all European countries, it cannot be an exclusive club for the richer and more prosperous nations of Western and central Europe. It has to take in the poorer countries in the South.

I now wish to turn, following the pattern of the Lord Privy Seal, to some serious questions that inevitably arise from Greek membership and the wider questions posed by a Europe of 12. I shall speak first of the impact of membership on Greece; next of the impact on the Community; and finally, about the impact on our own country. I intend to speak frankly.

No one should have any illusions that membership will pose serious difficulties for the Greek economy. When Greece applied in 1975, the immediate procedural response was for the Commission to publish an opinion on the many questions that Greek membership involved. No one who has read that opinion, published in 1976, would dispute that it was a cautious opinion. Major difficulties were envisaged. Our own Foreign Office published in March 1978 a substantial memorandum on the impact of enlargement. This included the applications of Spain and Portugal as well as Greece. It threw considerable light on what was involved for all three countries and for the Community.

Most recently, Agra Europe published on 1 June 1979 a special report on Greek accession which included chapters on the other applicant States as well. I would like to deal with the points made in all three reports. First, and properly, there is the identification of the effects of membership on Greek industry, much of it fledgling and small in scale. This is now to be exposed, over the five years' transitional period, to full competition from the advanced industries of the Nine. At the same time, under the Treaty of Accession, the State aids that the Greek Government give to their own industries are to be phased out in five years.

I foresee considerable difficulties flowing from this timetable. Greece is to comply with the directives on capital movements—substantially on entry—and will complete her harmonisation with the EEC directives by the end of the transitional period. That will not be easy. Greece is to introduce the Community's own resource system of external taxation and with it the introduction—it has not yet got it—of value added tax. The effect of that can, as we well know, be somewhat unpredictable, but seldom, in the experience of any country, is it a very happy one.

There seems little doubt that certain sectors of agriculture in Greece will receive strong Community aid. The effect of this could be very inflationary as well as being a stimulus to agricultural production. That stimulus will not always be in products where extra production is needed. In the last three years the Greek economy—

Before my right hon. Friend leaves the subject of agriculture, may I ask him whether he is aware that the Greek Government run an intervention scheme for the cost of wheat and, therefore, support very substantially the cost of bread to the ordinary people of Greece? As this system will be phased out over the transitional period, does not my right hon. Friend think that the difficulties arising from this would heavily increase the price of basic foodstuffs in Greece for people who have, I understand, not given assent to adherence to the EEC, just as this country was not asked to give, and did not give, its assent?

My hon. Friend says that this will be an additional problem. I have not studied the particular arrangement in Greece, but it may be that some internal arrangement will be possible to ease the burden by way of a direct subsidy to consumers of the kind that some countries have enjoyed. However, I do not wish to minimise the problems.

Community aid will be given to assist Greece during the transitional period, particularly for wheat, olive oil and processed fruits and vegetables, all of which are essential to the Greek economy.

I am sure that the House will take note of that.

In the past three years the Greek economy has shown considerable capacity for development and that development has been quite fast. It would, therefore, be wrong to assume that the impact of these changes will prove too much for the Greek ability to adjust. But it is right and proper to warn that major risks are involved and that the Community arrangements make little or no concessions to the particular structures and needs of the Greek economy outside the transitional period.

I turn to the impact on the Community itself. First, there is no doubt that the common agricultural policy is likely to recruit still more support in an enlarged European Community. Greece is a predominantly agricultural country, with 35 per cent, of its population employed on the land. In Portugal the figure is 28 per cent.; in Spain it is 22 per cent. The average for the Community—though the range is wide—is 9 per cent. There is no doubt therefore that we can expect support for the extension of the mechanisms of the CAP, particularly for such agricultural products as wine, tobacco, fruit and vegetables, citrus fruits and olive oil, which are the main agricultural products of these Mediterranean countries.

I am aware of existing arrangements, but the pressure for their strengthening, and indeed their additional cost, would be bound to involve a growth in CAP expenditure. Furthermore, Greece and the other applicant countries are more or less self-sufficient in those other agricultural commodities. I think particularly of grains but also of milk products, where the Community of nine is in gross surplus. So there will not be much relief there. It is not like Britain joining the EEC and becoming a second stomach for the Six. The problem of surplus in the CAP will not be relieved by the enlargement of the Community with the accession of Greece or of the other two nations.

There is no doubt that Greece—and Spain and Portugal when their turn comes—will be major claimants on the regional and social funds of the EEC. Since their GDP per head is so much lower than ours, this may be considered just. I can, however, see no matching growth of those funds to enable their needs to be met as well as our own at the same time. Anyone who wishes to be reminded of the discrepancy in GDP per head between the new applicant States and the original member States should look again at the Foreign Office document, signed by the then Minister of State, Mr. Judd, on 7 March 1978. The table on income distribution, that is GDP per capita as a percentage of the EEC of 12 members, shows that Portugal is 34 as against an average of 100, Greece is 50, Ireland is 53 and Spain is 60. The size of the problem, therefore, ought not in any way to be minimised.

The energy problems of the EEC will be increased rather than decreased by enlargement. As it happens, all three applicant countries are less self-sufficient in energy supply than the original nine members. There is no doubt that membership will bring about an increase in Community expenditure and a further increase in the already swollen EEC budget.

My final point relates to the institutions of the EEC. Institutional change is bound to take place, and that is shown quite clearly in the text of the Treaty of Accession. There will be an increase in numbers in the European Assembly. There will be an increase in membership of the Commission and of the Council of Ministers.

There is a school of thought that takes the view that, as the Community gets larger, the problem of orderly policy making becomes more difficult. Therefore, the argument grows that the Council of Ministers, in particular, should revert to the original purpose of the Treaty of Rome of taking more and more decisions by majority vote. I make it absolutely plain that we set our face firmly against any such development. The one thing we cling to more than any other as an institutional arrangement is the right of veto on the Council of Ministers. Where a national interest is involved, nothing must be allowed to detract from that.

What will be the impact of new membership on Britain? It will not, in my view, be significant for industry and trade, largely for the reasons I have mentioned. Our tariffs are already down in relation to Greece. Greek tariffs are still substantially up in relation to our goods. But Greek accession—and the subsequent accession of Spain and Portugal—will finally block any possibility of correcting the major imbalance in Britain's own contribution to the Community funds through enlargement of regional and social funds.

Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are bound to be the major beneficiaries of these funds.

That leaves us with two major problems, not merely unsolved but made increasingly serious. First, the heavy cost of the CAP is now likely to increase, and support for the CAP is likely to be strengthened inside the Community by its new members. That is not good news for Britain. It is bad news. Further, the growth of the net contribution that Britain makes to the EEC budget—£1,000 million net this year and, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer is correct, £1,500 million per annum in 1983—is likely to grow with the accession of the new member States.

The new and poorer members of the Community are bound to be recipients of Community funds. That makes it all the more essential to secure an early and massive change in Britain's contribution to the EEC and in the method of financing it. The type of changes that we want and meeting the needs of different countries cannot be attained until we abandon the nonsensical mix of taxes which are known as "own resources".

I hope that I have not been timid in describing the difficulties. None of the difficulties disposes me to alter my welcome to Greek membership nor, indeed, to the enlargement of the Community generally. However, we are entitled to draw a number of conclusions. First, the Community of 10—and soon of 12—will be significantly different from the Community of nine, just as the Community of nine was markedly different from the original Community of six. It will be different not only in composition and numbers but in the nature of the problems which the Community must face and in the great divergence of the economies and standards of living throughout the enlarged Community.

Secondly, the Greek accession treaty, like the accession treaties of Britain, Ireland and Denmark, is a rigid and Procrustean document. Once again the applicant member is forced to swallow the doctrines, the entire legislation and the parcel of commitments which have been built up in the EEC since 1957—what is called the acquis communautaire. It is being asked to swallow all the medicine in the accession treaty. Not a single change to the Treaties of Rome and Paris is contemplated. The changes must be made entirely by the applicant country in a short transitional period of five years.

Thirdly, the adjustments that must be made by the new member will become more difficult according to the extent to which the applicant country lags behind the development of the original Six. It will have to make those adjustments, not in the context of sustained economic growth in Western Europe, but against a sombre background of lagging production and high unemployment both in the EEC and in the world economy.

If we are serious in our wish to help and sustain the new democracies in the African countries, it is time to turn our minds to the long-overdue reform of the basic European treaties and their adaptation to the needs, not of the 1950s and 1960s, but of the new and more difficult world of the 1970s and 1980s.

The membership of Greece and the other applicant countries will strengthen the case for change in the EEC. I welcome that. The strains on the CAP, on its competition, regional and industrial policies, on the coherence of the Community's institutions and, above all, on the financing of the Community budget will prove to be increasingly insupportable. We must move from the argument for enlargement to the argument for major change.

I remind the House that Private Business begins at 7 o'clock. I understand that it is for the general convenience of the House that this debate should conclude at 7 o'clock. I therefore appeal for brief contributions.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Although it is convenient for this debate to end at 7 o'clock, will you confirm that the debate could continue after 10 o'clock should Members so desire?

I confirm that the debate could continue after the conclusion of Private Business, although there is further business after that. The hon. Gentleman is right, but I understand that it is convenient to end this debate at 7 o'clock.

4.45 p.m.

I wish to correct gently the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore). This is not a small but an admirably short Bill. What is more, it symbolises a great idea—that of the European family coming together. The Bill is an important step in that process, for a Europe without Greece is unthinkable.

Of course, enlargement will bring problems. We do not need to be reminded of that. The problems that will ensue when Spain and Portugal become members loom even larger. However, in the long perspective of history, the opportunities which enlargement brings for us all, including Britain, are much greater.

I do not intend any disrespect to the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar, because many of his arguments should weigh heavily with us in the great debate about what is to become of the Community and how we are to resolve its budgetary and other problems, but this debate does not call for the making of small points.

For my sins, I am the chairman of the all-party British-Greek group in the House. That group commands the support and affection of many hon. Members in all parties and in the other place, too. I am sure that its members, and many more of my colleagues, believe that this short but admirable Bill marks no ordinary event. I recall the early-day motion tabled just after the Greek Parliament voted by a substantial majority in favour of Greece joining the Community. We said that, being mindful of the cultural debt that all Europe owed to Greece and the many ties of common sacrifice and deep friendship which had bound our two peoples together in more recent times, we warmly welcomed its decision.

Indeed, many of us who vaue the friendship of our two countries look to our common membership of the Community as an opportunity for deepening that friendship and increasing our collaboration in the future. This is a great day for the friends of Greece in Britain—and there are many of them. Long may that be so.

I wish to ask a short and practical question. Greece has been waiting anxiously for the ratification procedures in this Parliament and in the Parliaments of the other Community members to be completed. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that every endeavour is made to ensure that the Bill passes through all its stages and gains Royal Assent as speedily as possible?

4.50 p.m.

There are those who ask, if Greece wishes to join the EEC, who are we to question that? I do not. This House has not only a right but a duty to consider the implications of membership for the United Kingdom's national interest, Greece, and the political and economic future of Europe.

In my judgment, the best that can be said about the effect of Greece's accession to the EEC on the United Kingdom's national interest is that it is likely to be neutral. That best may well not be achieved. Greece's membership may add a small but significant burden on the EEC budget and, through that, on the already outrageously high contribution made by the United Kingdom to the EEC.

The transitional arrangements provide that Greece will not become a net contributor to the EEC budget during the transitional period. On the basis of this year's budget and the estimates made by the Commission, Greece would have benefited by about 80 million units of account, or £55 million, from the budget. That is not something that I begrudge Greece. It is a more justified use of the money from British and other European taxpayers than many of the purposes to which the EEC budget is put.

It is, however, essential to make the point that in direct terms there will be burdens on the EEC budget. Those burdens are likely to be increased rather than decreased as a result of Greece's accession. There are two related reasons for this. First, Greece's economy is highly dependent on agriculture. It has a higher proportion of its population working in the farming industry than any other member State. It will seek to make substantial demands on the common agricultural fund.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) mentioned olive oil. Within the Community last year olive oil was in surplus by more than 10 per cent, of the total production. Eighty-six thousand tonnes of olive oil were stored in intervention, having been bought up. Greek farmers will seek to benefit, as other farmers within the EEC have done, from the present regime on olive oil and from the production aid of £350 per tonne. That will add burdens to the EEC budget.

Secondly, the agricultural system in Greece is relatively underdeveloped, as is much of its industry. Geographically speaking, it is at the periphery of Europe. The consequences of those factors are that Greece will understandably seek substantial benefit from the EEC regional fund and social fund. They are the only funds from which the United Kingdom has gained any serious benefit since we became members. The House of Lords pointed out, in its Select Committee report last year on the EEC budget, that once Greece, Spain and Portugal came into membership
"it is likely that the net benefit to the United Kingdom from the Fund will be substantially reduced, and possibly eliminated".
There are, then, wider implications of Greece's membership. I accept that it is not for us to question the decision of the Greek Parliament. It is not a decision of the Greek people as a whole in a referendum but a decision of the Greek Parliament to make application for membership of the EEC, but we must seek to establish the effects of membership on Greece and on the EEC. Evidently the Greek Government and their Prime Minister, Mr. Karamanlis, believe that Greece's membership will have a beneficial impact on the Greek economy as well as upon its wider political role in Europe in ending what they say is 2,000 years of Greek isolation from the rest of Europe.

We may understand that desire and may share their hope that it will lead to a strengthening of Greece's economy and an ending of its isolation, but is that hope justified? It is difficult to predict the future. Although the Community has produced some weighty documents on the efforts of membership, there has been no detailed statement this afternoon from the Lord Privy Seal as to the real and detailed effects of membership.

The Greek Government have come under criticism internally for what the leader of the United Democratic Left, Mr. Elias Eliou, said in June was a failure of the Greek Government to inform the Greek people in depth as to the consequences of accession.

One group which has made a recent study of the potential effects of Greece's membership on the EEC and on Greece is the respected research group Agra Europe, to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar referred. Its report makes interesting but gloomy reading. It says that
"enlargement could impose severe strains on the economies of Greece, Spain and Portugal after accession. … Enlargement could aggravate these countries' already grave balance of payments position, as well as their rates of unemployment and inflation."
The Greek balance of payments position is already serious. In 1977 its exports were 100 million drachma, but its imports in terms of trade were 250 million drachma. Greece is in serious and chronic deficit. Agra Europe says that its accession to the EEC will make that position worse rather than better and that the
"economic burdens of enlargement could bring in their wake political tensions between the regions of an enlarged Community."
That is the most serious and worrying aspect of Greece's accession.

In my judgment, these tensions could be made worse, because the Greek people are in no sense united on the question of their desire to join the EEC. It is one of the most significant and controversial domestic political issues within Greece over very many years. Opposition to the Common Market has united almost the whole of the Greek Left, including Mr. Andrea Papandreou's Panhellenic Socialist Movement, which is opposed root and branch to Greece's membership. Among other things, it believes that membership will damage the Greek economy and Greece's prospects within the world.

If the pessimistic predictions of Agra Europe are correct and the economy of Greece is damaged and not in any way strengthened by Greece's accession to the EEC, then, far from Greece's accession encouraging stability in Southern Europe, the fat could well be in the fire. Instability could be the result. We must be aware that Greece's membership will not necessarily lead to a wider European stability but could achieve exactly the reverse.

There are those who believe that the membership of Greece, Spain and Portugal will create such tensions within the EEC as to hasten the day of reform. Many EEC institutions, especially the common agricultural policy, will become increasingly unworkable in the light of the burden that those countries pose on them.

The Agra Europe report concludes
"that enlargement will introduce new problems for the CAP without in itself solving any of the old ones. Among the difficulties that will arise … are the aggravation of the Community's agri-monetary (Green currency) tangle, the weakening of the Community's institutions controlling the CAP, and the threat to the Community's important 'special relationships' with its 'preferential' Mediterranean suppliers."
This point is underlined by the comment of the European Commission in its consultative document last year, when it said:
"The solutions to these problems must first of all be concerned with maintaining what the Community has achieved … in the agricultural sphere …"
We all know what the Community has achieved. It has achieved the outrageous and disgusting spectacle of the common agricultural policy. Yet the first priority of the Commission, when it discussed enlargement of the Community, was that the problem of Greece's accession had to be taken into account within what described as what the EEC had achieved. I remain extremely pessimistic about the possible beneficial effects of Greece's membership on loosening up the institutions of the EEC.

Given the fact that the Bill is likely to go through and that Greece will join the EEC, we all hope that there will be a new tomorrow, a new dawn, and that Greece will benefit from the EEC. But I suspect that Greece's experience of the EEC will be no better than that of the United Kingdom and that it is likely to be a good deal worse. If so, membership will be bad for us, bad for Greece and, above all, bad ironically for the idea of wider European co-operation which some of us seek as an alternative to membership of the EEC. The likely adverse experience of Greece within the Common Market, as of the United Kingdom, will be to discredit, not to enhance, the idea of wider European co-operation.

5 p.m.

As my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal reminded the House, the United Kingdom Government have subscribed to the Treaty of Accession whereby Greece became entitled to full membership of the EEC. That being so, it is clearly right and proper that the House should pass the Bill, and I would not urge any contrary course on hon. Members.

I should like to take advantage of this debate to voice some disquiet that I feel about the policy of enlargement. Despite what has been said by my right hon. Friend, I doubt whether Greece's accession at this time is likely to be in the interests of the Community as a whole. I feel these reservations even more strongly when I come to consider the proposal that in due course Spain and Portugal should also become full members of the Community.

In voicing these concerns I should like to touch on three areas, all of which have been mentioned by the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore). The first of these disadvantages associated with the accession of Greece is its effect on the common agricultural policy. As has been stated, a substantial proportion of the Greek population derives its livelihood from agriculture. The figure is about 30 per cent., which is much larger than in any other European country. Moreover, farms in Greece tend to be smaller, more fragmented and less sophisticated in their operating practices. As many hon. Members may know, local prices for important products tend to be lower than the Community's support prices.

The cumulative effect of these facts will lead to certain results. First, there will be a further increase in surpluses. Secondly, as the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar said, there will be no alleviation of surpluses in northern foodstuffs. It is absolutely certain that there will be a substantial increase in the cost of intervention buying, and in the long term there is bound to be a substantial increase in the cost to the regional fund.

All these real problems will be compounded if in the fullness of time Spain and Portugal join the EEC. The transition from a Community of nine to a Community of 12 will bring about an increase of 55 per cent. in the Community's agricultural work force, an increase of 49 per cent. in the agricultural area and an increase of 57 per cent. in the number of agricultural holdings. Despite these substantial increases in both acreage and labour, because of the low productivity which is a characteristic of the agriculture industry in Greece, Spain and Portugal, it is calculated that agricultural output will increase by only about 24 per cent.

I have been concentrating on the direct consequences that Greece's accession will have for the common agricultural policy, but there is another real disadvantage that the House would do well to consider. We are all agreed that the CAP is in need of urgent reform. We think that the surpluses are excessive and must be substantially reduced. We also believe that the system of intervention buying as a means of supporting agricultural prices is in need of thorough reform. I greatly fear that Greece's accession, especially if it is followed by the accession of Spain and Portugal, will make the task of reform much more difficult to achieve.

I turn now to a second but related disadvantage, and I shall put it briefly.

Before my hon. Friend does that, I should point out that these are matters of pros and cons. My hon. Friend and Opposition Members have been developing the disadvantages not only to this country but to the EEC from the purely agricultural standpoint. Does he not recognise that not one word has so far been mentioned of the fact that Greece is by far the biggest growth area for tourism in the world, as are Spain and Portugal? Therefore, the substantial bonuses of immense industrial advantage that they will get, plus the correlated industries which go with leisure today, will more than offset the problems that he has indicated in agriculture.

I have considered the points made by my hon. and learned Friend, but I do not agree with his general conclusion. It is a matter of judgment. Notwithstanding the points made by my hon. and learned Friend, I think that the balance of advantage lies against the accession of Greece to the EEC.

I was coming to the second of the disadvantages which I associate with the accession of Greece to the EEC, and it relates to the burden on the Community budget. By the end of the transition period, which will be in 1986, Greece will be a net beneficiary to the tune of about £324 million per annum. That is the present estimate, but I should not be surprised if the direct cost were substantially higher. Furthermore, I suspect that both Spain and Portugal, if they join the Community, will be substantial net beneficiaries in their turn.

We all agree that the United Kingdom Government's contribution to the European budget is too high. I cannot resist the conclusion that the prospective drain upon the European budget posed by the accession of Greece, especially if that is followed by the accession of Spain and Portugal, will make it more difficult for us to persuade the member States to agree to a substantial reduction in our contribution. Therefore, I doubt whether Greece's accession to the EEC is in our interests.

There is a third point which I feel the House would wish to bear in mind. If Greece is to join the Community and if in turn she is to be followed by Spain and Portugal, there will be a shift in emphasis and, I suspect, a shift in influence to the southern areas of the Community. That would not be in the interests of the United Kingdom.

I am conscious that the disadvantages I have been describing are of a somewhat narrow kind. No doubt the criticism will be made that my comments have been motivated by a somewhat narrow concept of national self-interest. If these disadvantages could be balanced by some other positive advantage, the House would not be concerned with them. But I have heard no argument in this debate so far to suggest that it is in the economic interests of the United Kingdom or the EEC that we should agree to the accession of Greece at this time.

I am glad to hear it.

There is then the political argument, to which I give some weight. I am sympathetic to those who believe that we need to have an enlarged Community if it is to have the kind of political status that I wish for it. I do not believe, however, that the time is now ripe for enlargement. The existing institutions of the Community are not working in the way that we would wish. The existing members are not co-operating as they should. France defies not merely the spirit but the letter of its treaty obligations. I believe that the accession of another member State, far from resolving these problems, is likely to add future confusion to existing disorder.

I am not seeking to urge the House to oppose the Bill. That would be wholly incompatible with our treaty obligations. However, I wish to sound a note of concern. I do not believe that the time is now right to enlarge the Community. We should be well advised to ensure that the existing structure is wind- and watertight before we add new wings or construct follies in the garden.

5.12 p.m.

Since the overthrow of the military regime and the restoration of democratic institutions in Greece, I have been the secretary of the British-Greek parliamentary group in this House. But it is in no formal sense that I express my support today for the Bill. At a time when narrow chauvinism and blinkered self-interest within the European Community are causing intense anxiety to many in Britain who, like myself, having fought hard for Britain's membership, still retain as firmly as ever our devotion to the Community's aims and aspirations, the Bill gives immense relief and satisfaction.

Greek accession has taken a very long time to negotiate. Although it obviously presented problems which were real and difficult and which merited the deepest consideration by all the parties involved, I believe that the negotiations on the Greek application were unduly protracted and that there was a good deal of unnecessary foot dragging. However, I am happy to say that Britain has not been guilty in that respect, and I feel sure that our Greek friends are aware of the spontaneous desire of the people of this country from the outset of the application to bring Greece into the Community with the least possible delay.

It is right to acknowledge the role played by Chancellor Schmidt at a crucial stage in the negotiations, but, above all, to pay tribute—and tribute has rightly been paid this afternoon—to Mr. Karamanlis, who has given a truly noble lead to his people in this historic advance into partnership with other nations which owe so much to the Greek heritage.

Membership of the Community will give the new Greece of today a sense of belonging and the inspiration that will flow from it that has been lacking perhaps for far too long.

Hon. Members on both sides have spoken with authority about problems for the Community that inevitably arise from enlargement. These include the dilution of resources at a time of growing economic strains within the Community, the institutional problems, the question of cohesion within a structure which now expands into new territories, and so on. It is right and proper and in the very nature of the Common Market that each of its members should seek to protect and advance its own interest. Enlightened self-interest, and thereby the promotion of collective advantage for all its members, is at the very foundation of the Community.

At this moment Britain is engaged in a profoundly important conflict with some of its European partners. If it should fail in the essentials of this argument, the consequences for the Community will be extremely grave. I hope that these words, coming even from a Back-Bench Member like myself, who is known in this Chamber to be a friend of Europe and to have fought hard for British membership, will be noted outside the Chamber.

It is necessary for our European partners to show a more honest realism about the workings of the Community and to face up to its defects, not least the patent absurdities and inequity of the common agricultural policy, and the unfairness of its system of budgetary contributions. Most of my right hon. and hon. Friends who supported our leader in his powerful representations on these matters will wish the Prime Minister all the muscle power she can command at the Dublin summit meeting.

Greek entry is an assertion of the true Community principles and spirit overriding those narrower material considerations. This Bill is a whole-hearted recognition of the democracy that has emerged in that land after a dark period. I doubt very much whether these new democratic institutions in Greece could have survived the humiliation and rebuff of a rejected application. If there had been a rejection it would have been a triumph for those political forces that are hostile not merely to the Community but to NATO and Western defence.

In January 1977 the then Foreign Secretary, Mr. Anthony Crosland, in a speech analysing the problems of enlargement—and clearly with Greece in mind—described it as an investment in the democratic future of Europe. It is in that spirit rather than with balance sheet pedantry that the House will view Greek entry into the Community.

The concept of a further enlargement is bound up with the restoration of democratic systems in the countries of Southern Europe. Social democrats will feel a great deal of justification for the Community for that reason alone. I go further. At a time when the West is under immense totalitarian menace from the evil regimes in Eastern Europe it is essential that we strengthen our Western defensive bonds in every direction. As her history shows, Greece has never failed to play her part in defence against totalitarian aggression. I have no doubt that Greece, together with her Western friends, will play an important role in defending world peace.

I believe that enlarging the Community now to include Greece, and in due course Portugal and Spain, offers a rare opportunity for a radical restructuring of the Common Market. Undoubtedly the potential accession of these countries, as well as the extension of EEC arrangements with other associated member States, and arrangements between themselves, will increasingly pose specific social and economic problems which will compel the existing nine member States to re-examine and re-think the present structure of the Community. There will inevitably be a strain upon the present political balances among the existing nine members. Enlargement is likely to make them more aware of the need for a fundamental restructuring. That process could take place partly in the context of the accession treaties themselves, partly in subsequent legislation and even in a later revision of the Treaty of Rome itself. As a social democrat, I look forward to changes of that kind coming about.

In the short term I look forward to an accelerating growth in our relationship with Greece in every area. There are great advantages—not least economic—to be derived by both our countries from the fullest association. As an internationalist, and one who thinks warmly of Greece as an ally in war and peace, I profoundly welcome her accession to our Western European Community.

5.22 p.m.

The Greek nation has made a distinguished contribution to the development of European civilisation. The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) cogently made the case for a welcome for Greek accession to the Community. I join him in that welcome, although I regret that, for a reason to which I shall come, my welcome cannot be quite as wholehearted as I should otherwise have wished.

We all recognise that Europe is about more than economics. We did not enter the Community merely to join a free trade area. The Community involves something more fundamental, so we have seen the development of parliamentary and judicial, as well as governmental, institutions. Those institutions are based on common principles of government, justice and individual rights, which are fundamental to, and shared by, all member States as part of our common Western European democratic heritage. It is not simply a matter of common economic interest; there is a shared tradition of democracy and freedom upon which the institutions of the Community have been built.

These common standards are vital to the Community in a number of respects. One that bears especially on the point that I wish to raise is that the Community encourages the free passage of workers from one country to another to live and work within the Community. Therefore, it is essential for the security of those who do so that they must know that their rights are being protected within the country of the Community in which they are working as much as they would be were they living at home.

It is essential that any member of the European Community should not merely possess the economic wherewithal for membership but should also adhere totally to those common standards, so that the shared principles that underlie the Community and the security of all of us who live within it can be maintained.

I do not want to be thought to be underestimating the enormous strides forward that have been made by the Government of Mr. Karamanlis since the days of the junta. However, I wonder whether, in some respects, the standards of openness and justice prevailing in the Greek Government still do not leave something to be desired. I say that especially in the light of the circumstances that I wish to detain the House for a few minutes to develop.

Ann Chapman lived in my constituency. She went to Greece in October 1971, where she was murdered. She was a radio journalist. At that time, she was believed to be working on a story about the then Greek regime that involved visiting at least one prominent dissident, Lady Fleming, who was then in detention. A Greek citizen, a man named Moundis, was convicted of her murder, the basis for the prosecution case being that this was a sexual crime—an attempted rape that led ultimately to murder. That was not an acceptable theory to her parents, who are my constituents. It was apparent that her journalistic activities were known to the Greek security forces. It was probable, on the evidence as we have it, that she was being followed by the police throughout her five days in Greece prior to her murder. In 1976, owing to the persistence of my constituent, Ann Chapman's father, the case was reopened. Professor David Bowen, one of our leading forensic scientists, looked at all the forensic evidence and came to the settled and firm conclusion that this murder was the work of two people and not one. There was no way in which the case against Moundis could in any way embrace the addition of another participant in the crime. Rumours and mysteries have surrounded the death of Ann Chapman from the day that it happened to this very day. Indeed, a few months ago the matter returned to the headlines, when there were press reports that the Soviet defector, Schevschenko, in his de-briefing to the United States authorities, indicated that more sinister reasons lay behind her death.

Mr. Chapman has worked tirelessly to have this case properly reopened by the Greek Government. Up to a point, it appeared that he had been making progress in that direction. Latterly, as the evidence against the court's initial finding and the conviction of Moundis became apparent, he has come up against a barrier of indifference—indeed, almost hostility—from the Greek Government, from the Ministry of Justice and from the public prosecutor's department.

It is difficult to know why the Greek Government should wish to conceal a scandal that dates back to their predecessors. This matter was tirelessly followed through by my predecessor, Hugh Jenkins, and I took on a file four inches thick representing his endeavours to get to the bottom of this matter.

In the absence of any coherent explanation from the Greek Government, one is driven to consider the evidence of certain other prominent Greeks to whom my constituent has spoken—to the effect that there is a cover-up—because today there remain active in the Greek security and police forces persons who were equally active and equally senior during the previous regime.

The case of Ann Chapman is disturbing, not just for me but for all Members of Parliament. I know of no other country at present in the Community where my constituent, Mr. Chapman, would experience so much difficulty in trying to unravel a matter when it is apparent that there is so much firm evidence on his side.

Let me refer to the European Convention on Human Rights, as these matters are all bound up with the progress towards which those of us who believe in the Community think we are working. Greece ratified the convention, as, indeed, have all the member States of the Community. However, there is a declaration under article 25 that allows individual applications to the Commission. That is an essential safeguard of individual liberty.

Only one member of the Community has not adhered to that; needless to say, it is France. The Greek Government have not done so, and this remains a formidable obstacle not just in the way of those seeking justice on behalf of Ann Chapman, but to anyone else who might find himself, unhappily, in a similar position. The article 25 declaration, and the Greek Government's obstruction of my constituent's efforts, suggest that the Greeks may be out of step on the fundamental and important question of individual liberty that concerns hon. Members. I am grateful to see an indication of that from Opposition Members.

Economically, it is to be hoped that Greece stands to benefit from membership of the Community. It is equally to be hoped that the Community will benefit from Greece's accession. It is essential that a consequence of Greece's becoming a member of the European Community is that, in a case such as that of Ann Chapman, it rectifies its failure to live up to the commonly accepted standards to which the rest of us would wish to adhere. I certainly hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Government Front Bench will play their part in ensuring that the Greek Government do so.

5.30 p.m.

The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) very properly used the opportunity that he had in this debate to raise a particular question. It is a good tradition of Parliament that we do that sort of thing. When I was a member of the European Parliament, and consequently a member of the EEC Greece committee, many members of the Socialist group used the opportunity to raise matters of this kind. Some members of the Greek Parliament interpreted that as discourtesy, but we stuck to it and managed to ameliorate some of the problems raised about the treatment of certain religious minorities, and the way the Greek Government used national service as a weapon against them.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it would be a good thing if those who are leaders of public opinion in Greece were to read the kind of speech that we just heard from the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) and understood that throughout this House there are strong feeling that things should be changed.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) is quite right. I say that as someone who is wholeheartedly behind the Bill. I have supported Greek entry and, indeed, many other things Greek, during my political career. It is absolutely right that the issue raised by the hon. Member for Putney should be aired, and I congratulate him on airing it.

The irony is that most of the debate has been taken up by Members pointing out the severe disadvantages that will accrue to the United Kingdom, the EEC and Greece as a result of the latter's entry, yet it is confidently expected that there will be no vote this evening and that everything will go through smoothly.

Although accepting the very cogent arguments by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), and the many problems put forward by other hon. Members, I wish to say why I feel that the Bill should be supported in spite of the fact that it will bring many problems.

It must be emphasised that the debate takes place against a backdrop of very bitter divisions in Greece about the advantages of entry to the Common Market, and the prospect of that country entering by a simple majority vote in its own Parliament.

Indeed, comparisons with the way in which the United Kingdom was taken into the EEC against bitter opposition of the Left-wing party are legion. Anyone who has talked to members of Parliament and officials of the PASOK party, as I did during August, will realise that it should not be written off. That party gains more votes in each general election in Greece, and one must come to terms with the fact that it is an important force, representing a very real political opinion there. The feelings of the PASOK party about being railroaded into Europe in the same way as the British Labour Party was need to be understood.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson), who has just left the Chamber, mentioned NATO. I am sure that the problem of Greece's virtual non-membership of NATO is relevant to the Bill. The truth is that Greece has been treated appallingly by NATO, as have the compatriots of the Greeks in Cyprus who were shot at and murdered with NATO weapons during the invasion of that island by Turkey. I do not follow my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington in his arguments about strengthening NATO as an argument for bringing Greece into the EEC. NATO needs to be strengthened in other ways.

One must also remember that this debate takes place against a background of increasing chaos in the Europe of the Nine. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe (Mrs. Dunwoody), anyone who served on the European Parliament and who is aware of the sheer mechanical problems that now exist in making the machine operate, knows that the mind boggles at how it will work at all with three further languages. An enormous new army of interpreters will be required. If anyone has any money to invest he had better invest it in Greek typewriters, because the Commission will need to hire several thousand new typewriters with different characters. The list goes on and on.

It is worth remarking that 70 per cent. of the cost of the European Parliament—slightly less than for the other institutions—is attributable to linguistic and geographical movement, the fact that the Parliament keeps shooting all around Europe, and words have to be interpreted and translated into other languages. The entry of Greece, Spain and Portugal will raise the percentage of the cost of the Parliament spent on sheer mechanics. In my view, it will be much higher than the present 70 per cent.

In spite of that, everyone is in favour of the entry of Greece into the EEC. I would like to ask why. I think that there are three reasons. First, we in Britain, particularly, feel that it hardly becomes us to oppose the entry of Greece when we complained so loudly and for so many years about having the door shut in our face. I was not one of those complaining, but as a nation it hardly lies with us to try to prevent Greece from entering the EEC.

Secondly, what everyone calls the political argument, put crudely and brutally, is a piece of blackmail, not only by Greece but by Spain and Portugal. It is a piece of blackmail with which I have great sympathy. What those countries are really saying is that if we do not let them in they will go Fascist again. They are saying "If you do not give us a share in the economic advantages of your rich man's club, which you rather smugly associate with Western democracy, we shall be in danger of reverting to the dictatorial regimes that we have had until quite recently".

When one talks to leading politicians from each country and unwraps the various political arguments that they are using, one finds that they are saying "If we do not come under your umbrella and enter the EEC, where there is a sort of unwritten rule that we are not allowed to have a Fascist dictatorship—we would probably be expelled if we did—there is a danger that we shall revert to one. For us politicians, that is the greatest guarantee to keep democracy going in our countries, where it is a rather fragile plant." Although I have put it very crudely, it is an argument that I accept. Democracy in Europe is something that is worth sustaining. If one way of sustaining it is to use the umbrella of the EEC, one of whose great virtues is that democracy is a membership card, so be it. For that reason alone, it is proper that Greece should come into the EEC.

My final reason for welcoming the Bill warmly is that, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) said, although problems will come with enlargement the EEC can never again, with enlargement, be the rich men's club that it started as. I disagree here with my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn. The problems of enlargement will, in the end—it may be a very long time—force the EEC to undergo a fundamental transformation, perhaps very much more towards its becoming nearer to the free trade area that many of us wanted it to be in the first place. I may be rather starry-eyed in believing that, but I do believe it.

Inevitably, the entry of Greece, Spain and Portugal will be followed by an application from Turkey, as I indicated in an intervention during the Lord Privy Seal's speech. Turkey has every right to make such an application, because it was explicit in its association agreement that that agreement would lead to full membership.

When one talks to members of the Commission about this one finds that they all admit that this is their great nightmare and that the day that the Turkish application arrives in the Berlaymont building in Brussels they cannot see how they will be able to run the EEC in its present form any longer. To that I say "Three cheers", because I am certain that enlargement in this way will both get the EEC away from its introspective obsession with its own material prosperity and widen its horizons—I welcome the southern parts of Europe coming in; they have a great deal to offer the northern nations of Europe—and, as I say, fundamentally alter the nature of the club.

Quite apart from my belief, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington and others, that the Greeks have something unique to offer to us, and although there are defects in Greece to which, as the hon. Member for Putney said, we have every right to draw attention. I believe that the Greeks have a unique idea of what Europe and what democracy may have to offer. It is for those reasons that I very much welcome the Bill. I shall support it as it goes through the House.

5.43 p.m.

When I flew back from Athens last week, little did I dream that I would hear quite so much criticism in this debate, or that it would be so wide ranging. That it is wide ranging is a matter for warm welcome. That it is critical in many respects is a matter that I welcome, because it gives me the opportunity to reply to and to knock down some of the arguments.

As I see it, on political, historical and cultural grounds it is essential that Greece should join the European democracy. I shall deal with the economics a little later. The background is absolutely essential to understand and is understood by few.

On 12 June 1975 Greece submitted her application for full membership, and the negotiations began a year later, on 26 July. Over a long period Greece had evolved the moves towards Greek accession. The association agreement between Greece and the EEC, which was an ambitious one, has existed for the past 15 years. It made the transition of Greece from its associate status to full membership of the Community likely to prove very much smoother than would be the case for countries that had not had prior links with the EEC.

As to that position, one has also to bear in mind that, historically, Greece is a country that was not only in the war with us way back in 1945, when it suffered greatly, but managed to survive a very severe civil war and, following the civil war, the even more damaging dictatorship of the colonels. The whole of that is part of the background of a country which we see when we look at its present economic improvement—which I shall show—is changing very quickly and showing quite remarkable capacity for development.

For example, it is always understood that the harmonisation of agriculture policies applies and has been applying, and must be resolved in any event, under the terms of the agreement. In fact, that association agreement was signed in Athens on 9 July 1961. That was then regarded as the pre-accession arrangement to prepare Greece, with the help of the Community, for full EEC membership. That was at a time when Karamanlis was first in power as the Prime Minister.

The task of the Commission was enormous. The technical adaptations of Community law occupied no fewer than 40,000 words in the Official Gazette, drawing up in Greek the text of the treaties, of the existing regulations and of the accession instruments for Greece in 10 languages. All of these have been part of the successful preparatory work.

The basis of the Greeks' agreement accepts the acquis communautaire, which means that it is accepted entirely. without any changes at all in the Community rules, subject to the usual transitional measures to adjust any problems on either side. Generally, a five-year transitional period has been agreed, with very limited exceptions. The freedom of movement of workers has been put at seven years. That is due to the fact that in Greece there has been a large exodus of Greek workers, mainly to Germany but also to other countries, many of whom no doubt may return to Greece in the years that lie ahead. It has also meant a severe limitation on the grant of permission for foreign workers working in Greece, and this transitional period may take a little time.

Also, one special exception has had to be made in relation to agricultural products, namely, tomatoes and peaches, which are two products upon which the Greeks largely depend. The five-year period has been agreed to eliminate the customs duties on imports into Greece, and that is essential for the development of many products which are able now to be developed in Greece in conjunction with Britain, France and other countries, for there is now a rapid improvement in the future industrial status, position and development of Greece.

As I indicated during an intervention, aid by the Community will assist Greece through the transitional period, particularly in relation to olive oil, wheat and processed fruit and vegetables, which are also essential to the Greek economy.

These are matters that may cost money in the EEC budget. I take the points that have been made. The drachma, for example, will come within the basket of currencies within five years of the EUA.

Before I turn to the position on capital improvements, I want to say what really has changed the picture in Greece. I know Greece very well; indeed, I should do. I went there almost immediately after Karamanlis had begun his new regime. When I went there in 1974, I went specifically for the purpose of recreating the British-Greek parliamentary group. I went there to see Mr. Bitsios, the Foreign Minister at that time, and other people. On arrival in Athens I found that students were stoning the British embassy. It will be remembered that that was at the time of Cyprus, and that feelings were running very high against the British and the Americans. Relations were really disastrous. Those relations have improved immeasurably, but nothing like as much as the Greek economy itself is improving. I do not suppose that it is generally known that a figure of £2 billion is now the picture presented by the Greek tourist economy. Over the last five years this has increased at an immeasurable rate. It is the fastest growth area of tourism anywhere in the world, and adequate staffing will ensure that it develops even faster.

At the present time, as the newspapers and advertisements in this country will show, Greece is becoming the principal tourist export area from Britain. I am looking to see whether there are certain correlative advantages to Britain. Taking Greece into the Community means that we are not taking in a pauper. On the contrary, not only in regard to tourism but, we hope, in the British-Greek industrial get-together we shall have opportunities. In industry, there may be opportunities for factory building. For example, the whole question of prefabricated housing from this country is one sector in which there could be successful endeavour. It is not just a question of the export of processed fruits; it is in the areas of housing and property development that both this country and Greece can share an improvement in their economies.

Incidentally, it is equally true that both Spain and Portugal—more particularly Portugal—are showing rather the same tendency towards trying to improve their industry, as well as the expansion of tourism, to enable them not to become paupers in a rich man's club.

The arrangements for capital movements are particularly important, because Greece is likely to see rapid investment—and that should occur now—particularly from Britain, where in relation to both property and tourism substantial investors are anxious to advance and invest money in Greece as, indeed, in other countries. The current payments will be liberalised on accession in January 1981, but Greece may defer until December 1983 the liberalisation of the transfer of the proceeds of direct investment in Greece made before 12 June 1975 by persons resident in the Community.

I hope that Greece does not exercise that discretion, as the more liberal its policy towards financial investment the more likely it is to bring in investors from overseas, both from Britain and elsewhere, and the greater the benefits that will accrue both to the investor, whether British or otherwise, and to Greece. The more liberal that investment is, and is seen to be, the more likely it is that those who have to subscribe the money will wish to put forth the moneys that are necessary. Although Greece is underdeveloped at present, it is anxious to develop along the right lines.

As to property, the EEC does not permit Greece to retain exclusive dominion over its boundary islands. Therefore, Greece must recognise that Rhodes, Crete, Lesbos and Corfu, to name but a few, will be areas in respect of which there can be free investment by those outside to the benefit of those islands. Greece must realise that such investment can take place without the necessity of forming Greek companies or being limited to Greek investors. As most of the islands concerned—such as Lesbos and Crete—are those that are likely to be blocked for fear of a Turkish takeover, it is necessary to ensure that these outside investments by other EEC countries in no way inhibit future negotiations between Greece and Turkey.

Greece has shown that for nearly 20 years it has been awaiting the moment of this accession. It is quite true that at this time there is a great deal of confusion within the present countries of the Nine over the agriculture policies in particular. It is true that some moneys by way of aid will be to the advantage of Greece in terms of agriculture. It is not true to say that there is an over-production of olive oil, or an over-production of any of these agricultural products, in Greece. This is more likely to be decreased as industrial and tourist input shows a marked improvement. As that develops there will be a move away from what I might call the previous almost entirely agricultural approach to the more industrial and tourist approach.

It seems to me that Karamanlis and the negotiators have effectively negotiated terms that are reasonably beneficial—and they are much to be congratulated—against the present background of first-class relations between Britain and Greece and, indeed, between Greece and other EEC countries. It seems to me that this is a European club, on the basis of which I would support the entry of Portugal and Spain. At this stage I say nothing about Turkey, about which I have grave misgivings. However, if the House, as I am sure it will, gives its wholehearted support to Greece's entry in 1981, I hope that that country will continue to pursue conservative but effective policies.

I must point out that PASOK is a small party. Papandreou has always been a man with a mind very much of his own. That party represents nothing more than a small proportion of the Greek people. I can assure the House that the overwhelming proportion of Greeks are most anxious to see that this Bill is passed and that they enter into the Community on 1 January 1981 with the solid support of Britain as well as the other European countries.

5.57 p.m.

The hon. and learned Member for Thanet, West (Mr. Rees-Davies) was very optimistic, on the basis of his understanding of what will happen when Greece enters the Community, as it undoubtedly will. I should like to draw his attention to a letter from the Commission of the European Communities, signed by Mr. L. Natali, to Mr. K. B. Andersen, President of the Council of the European Communities, on 20 April 1978. This is an official Community document. On page 7 it states:

"Greece, Portugal and Spain are very different, but agriculture in these three countries has common characteristics, which are also shared by the present Mediterranean regions of the Community. The imbalances existing within the present Community will therefore be magnified by the accession of these three countries."
It also states, and this rather contradicts what the hon. and learned Gentleman said:
"There is a real danger of an increase in the rate of self-supply in some sectors which are already in surplus or bordering on surplus (wine, olive oil, certain fresh fruit and vegetables)".
I apologise for quoting from this letter, but it is an official document from the Commission to the Council of Ministers and it is, therefore, important. It adds:
"Application of the rules of the common agriculture policy to products in deficit in the applicant countries will have adverse effects on their trade balance".
It would have been a good thing had some people pointed out—I think that some of them did—the adverse effects on Britain's trade balance of our joining the European Community.

Let me quote further from this important document. It states:
"Enlargement is bound to intensify trade flows between the present Community and the three applicant countries and give a fresh boost to the economic growth: this, however, is liable to be of greater benefit to the developed regions whose economic fabric is sufficiently flexible and dynamic to take great advantage of the opportunities offered by a larger market. In the absence of suitable corrective policies, trade liberalisation might even go so far as to jeopardise the continued development of a number of weak regions in the enlarged Community."
Throughout this document there is much evidence of that kind. Therefore, in approaching the matter of Greek accession we should look at the adverse effects of the entry of Greece into the Community.

I shall not oppose the Bill, because I think that it would be confounded cheek on my part, or on the part of any British politician, to say that Greece should not join the European Community. If the Greek people wish to join the Community, that is a matter for them. It would be equally wrong to suggest to this House that there is not a strong body of opinion in Greece that is opposed to Greece's joining the Common Market.

It would have been a very happy occasion had hon. Members who were opposed to British entry into the Common Market won the day. When I consider the results of our entry into the Market, I do not think, with due respect to all the Euro-fanatics in the House, that any of them could honestly stand up and say that Britain's accession to the European Community has been beneficial to Britain. If there are any such hon. Members, let them stand up now, or for ever hold their peace.

Ah, we have one. My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) is always an honest man who fights hard for his point of view. But he is about the only hon. Member who has risen.

We are told that if Greece does not enter the Community she may revert to some form of dictatorship—Fascism, and so on. But is entry into the Common Market an absolute guarantee that from that point onwards a country will remain democratic? I do not think that we can hold our hands on our hearts and say that because a country joins the Common Market it will always remain democratic. Greece was a member of NATO at the time when the Colonels took over.

Perhaps the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Cranborne) has never read the NATO agreement. The first point in it is about the defence of democracy. Greece became a dictatorship when she was a member of NATO. It does not follow that because a country belongs to an organisation such as NATO it will abide by the letter of its treaties. Therefore there is no guarantee that Greece will remain a democracy because it is a member of the Common Market, any more than Britain can say that it will always remain a democracy because it is a member of the Common Market. A country is a democracy if its people want it to be a democracy. It is a democracy because its people fight for it to be a democracy. It is a democracy because its people are prepared to defend democracy. A country is not a democracy simply because it is a member of NATO, the Common Market or any other organisation. That is no guarantee of democracy.

A lot of rubbish is talked about Greek democracy. We have in this House a great scholar of Greek democracy. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) will know, as I do, that the original Greek democracy was for the slave owners. They were democratic. There was plenty of discussion and democracy for those who owned the slaves. There was no democracy for the slaves. In that sense democracy is a word with different meanings, and it has not always had the same meaning. It depends upon the situation at the time. If we are talking now about defending the Western type of democracy, we cannot argue that a State is of necessity a democracy because it is in the Common Market.

As for the attitude of the Labour Party, my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) was absolutely right. At no time has the Labour Party said that it is opposed to Greece acceding to the Common Market. The Labour Party has welcomed the accession of Greece. It has taken the same attitude in relation to Spain and Portugal. Why has the Labour Party done that? It is because we do not believe in a narrow Common Market, based strictly on the existing rules of the Treaty of Rome, and want to see a much looser and wider type of Common Market. We want to see changes in the Treaty of Rome. We want to see a much more liberalistic attitude on the part of the Common Market.

The strange thing about the Common Market is that although there is written into the Treaty of Rome a defence of free enterprise and capitalism, it then has within it a bureaucratic concept that is worse than anything I can think of. I do not know how Conservative Members who say that they believe in freedom can at the same time argue for total support of the Rome Treaty, because the two concepts contradict each other. Conservative Members ought to wake up to the fact of this contradiction and join us in arguing that there should be fundamental changes in the Treaty of Rome.

We are not opposing the Bill. I do not think that any of us would oppose it. But that does not mean that we shall not give our verbal support to those in Greece who say that they do not want Greece to join the Common Market. If they were to be in the majority, I would say "Good luck" to them. I am only sorry that they are not able to have a referendum in which to record their views.

6.8 p.m.

Max Hastings, in today's Evening Standard, says:

"The greatest fear within the corridors of the Commission today is of the effects on the creaking edifice of Europeanism when Greece joins, almost certainly to be followed by Spain and Portugal."
At this stage it is very important that we should stand back from the trees of Brussels and look at the woods of Europe. The Conservative Party has the reputation of being the party of Europe. There are two reasons for this. First, having divested ourselves of empire, we wished to combine with other countries of like culture and interest, and also to combine our industrial base, so that Europe could regain influence throughout the world. Secondly. During the reign of the previous leader of the Conservative Party, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath), Europe was something of a crusade. In private life, cleanliness is supposed to be next to godliness. In the Conservative Party, godliness as a virtue comes way below loyalty to the leader.

For many of us until now, Europe and things European have been vested with an infallibility that any pope would covet. In the event we joined, as Greece hopes to join, an organisation whose detailed rules were flawed. We joined in the anticipation that the great issues would predominate and that people of good will, intelligence and common purpose would make short work of the petty anomalies that existed. We hope that when Greece joins that will happen. However, it is not easy to be sanguine.

The stage Irishman, when asked how to get from A to B, always replies that he would not start from here. But we must start from here. For the last 1,000 years we have lived in a world in which power politics predominates. The difference now is that the power blocs are not on a national scale, but are continental. One of those power blocs is the Russian empire, which, with its client States, is busy rolling up the map of Africa, sapping the foothills of Western oil supplies, threatening our raw materials, threatening our supply routes, and trying to subvert the future markets on which the wealth of our industry and the well-being of our peoples will depend. This would be very dangerous at any time, but it is particularly so now, when America seems to have lost its way, when it has lost its self-confidence and is crumbling in the hands of a President whose only virtue is to make Mike Yarwood appear an effective politician, a man who, if predictions are to be believed, will be succeeded by a man whose only virtue is that he makes Richard Nixon appear an honest politician. Now, if ever, there is a need for a strong, outward-looking and united Europe. I hope that if Greece joins us it will join a united Europe.

The time has come for a new age of European influence throughout the world, dedicated to preserving the Third world for the free world. But what is Greece about to join? What do we have in Europe now? Napoleon once referred to Britain as a nation of shopkeepers. Heaven knows what he would make of Brussels, with its wine lakes, butter mountains, MCAs, levies, guide prices, target prices, intervention prices and sluice gate prices—the whole rotten paraphernalia. Perhaps Napoleon would enjoy his revenge—£1,000 million of British taxpayers' money going in reparation for the battle of Waterloo. Then, we have £750 million of taxpayers' money being paid to that most French of apparatus—the common agricultural policy. That means 30 shillings a week for every family of four in this country. Without that we could take 2p off income tax and 2 per cent. off VAT. It is said that on a quiet night in Paris one can hear Napoleon chuckling in his tomb.

Whatever commitments have been made by British Governments in the past, and whatever commitments and undertakings have been given by my party, the one principle that dictates my personal actions is the interests of my constituents and the people of my country. I am appalled by the budget deficit from which this country suffers. It is Robin Hood in drag—take from the poor to pay for the rich. I am appalled by the misdirection, and by the concentration on the petty to the exclusion of the important. I am appalled by the lost opportunities that Europe has put on one side, just as I am appalled by the unfairness to the British people.

I am a European and I want Europe to succeed. But Europe cannot succeed without the wholehearted support not just of the British Government but of the British people as a whole. This will not be forthcoming while we have this massive deficit that we are pouring into Europe. Something must be done before we can hope to get the support of the British people. This is a great tragedy, because of all the countries in Europe we have the contacts, the knowledge and the experience to develop Europe and the European influence throughout the rest of the world.

We have spoken about the effects of Greek accession on the European budget. Let us look at the budget now. The Prime Minister is determined to put right the injustices of our massive subventions. I have every faith in my right hon. Friend. When the history books are written, Joan of Arc by comparison will appear to be uninspired, uninspiring and faint-hearted. I have every faith in the case that we can put to Europe. He who pays the piper calls the tune, but at the moment we are paying for the whole bloody orchestra.

I am sure that when the Prime Minister goes to Dublin she will be met with sympathy, good will and kind words. I am sure that she will be told "Yes, we would help but we have problems with the farmers in Bavaria. The Paris basin may be very wealthy but we have problems with farmers in the rest of France." She will be told also "The pressures are too great. We soon have elections. We must be realistic. You accepted the rules when you joined. Would you change them now?"

I have news for Europe. Europe as it is now is no use to Britain. Unless there are changes, there will be no Britain in Europe. This is not my voice nor the voice of the House. It is the voice of people throughout the length and breadth of this country. Until there are significant changes in Europe, and unless we get progress at Dublin, this party—the party of Europe—will become increasingly impatient with Europe. We, too, have our political responsibilities; we, too, are determined.

6.17 p.m.

The matter that we are debating today is neither ephemeral nor transitory. It is a matter of lasting importance—[Interruption.] Mr. Deputy Speaker, it always seems to be my fate that when I get up to speak there is an interruption from the Gallery. On the occasion that Miss Mintoff threw horse dung from the Gallery, it was I who was speaking at the time. I seem to have that effect on people.

I should like to ask the Minister some specific questions. I interrupted the Lord Privy Seal to ask about cotton and tobacco. He told me to wait a minute, but as so often happens it was a little difficult to detect the answer from his speech. I press this again because it is a matter of some importance. Clearly the import of tobacco from Greece will be substantial, as will be the import of cotton. I shall not press the question about peaches, because that is not quite so important. The Government must have made some estimate of the imports that will stop as a result of the accession of Greece. Will we import less cotton from India or Egypt and less tobacco from elsewhere as a result? It is reasonable to suppose that the Government have done some calculations.

I endorse strongly the contribution of the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), who put forward an extremely good case on behalf of his constituent, Ann on behalf of his former constituent, Ann will give an undertaking that they will raise the case of Ann Chapman with the Greek authorities and say quite gently but firmly that many hon. Members in this House and Members of the previous European Assembly have raised similar cases. Whereas it could be understood that under the regime of the colonels there was this difficulty, it would be intolerable to have that sort of difficulty from another sister member of the Community.

One matter I wish to raise is not so much a personal question as a matter of principle. Some of my hon. Friends and I are concerned about the case of Ambassador Roussos, who was a distinguished Greek ambassador in London. We understand that his potential appointment as a Greek Commissioner has been vetoed in advance by some Commissioners in Brussels. According to the press, those Commissioners are Mr. Haferkamp, Mr. Natalie, and Mr. Cheysson. I hope that the matter can be clarified. Technically, the Commission might well have the power to refuse an appointment, but it would be unusual, to say the least, for the choice of a Government to be turned down because of objections from the Commission. I am glad to see that the Parliamentary Private Secretary has gone to the Box, because I should like to hear the Minister's comments on the matter.

I should like to couple that with another observation to the Minister. Am I right in believing that, although the United Kingdom makes up 20 per cent. of the members of the Community and pays 20 per cent. or more of the funds, we are allocated only 8 per cent. of the jobs in Brussels? As a matter of principle, it is unsatisfactory that, after a number of years, the number of jobs for an entry State should still be relatively low. I hope that we shall have clarification on that matter.

During the time of the celebrations on the Greek accession, it was widely reported, and it was the impression given on television, that the President of the French Republic, who also represented the Community as the President in office of the Council and, ostensibly, represented the Community as a whole, acted very much in his capacity as the President of France. It appeared that he used the occasion to advance French national rather than EEC interests in Greece. It is a delicate matter, but it creates difficulties in the Community if one of the parties occupying the presidency uses the occasion to advance national interests.

I also felt that it was a pity that on that historic occasion in Athens this country was not represented by the Prime Minister. Other countries sent their Prime Ministers—the Germans did not, because of a last-minute hitch—but we were represented by the Foreign Secretary. I hope that some comment will be made as to why the Prime Minister did not feel it necessary to attend that occasion in Athens.

I turn to the major issue I wish to raise—the impact of Greek accession on Community institutions as such. I declare a background interest to the matter, having been a member of the EEC Assembly Greece committee. I have had many arguments with Professor Pesmazogolou, in meetings in Greece, in the European Parliament and in Luxembourg, together with some Dutch Socialists, as to whether Greece should enter the Community. However, I extend to the professor and his colleagues my congratulations and good wishes. The best reason of all for Greece joining the Community was the determination of a large number of Greeks across a wide political spectrum so to do. Like some of my hon. Friends, I do not doubt the number of people in Greece, not only those who are associated with PASOK, who have grave misgivings and who are concerned about their infant industries. However, some of us had been concerned about the diluting of the Community in the last three or four years. If that is to be carried out, we should recognise that it will be a different Community.

But, having accepted with good grace and warmth the Greek accession, let us be under no delusions that it will have an effect upon European institutions. My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) was right to use the words "shake up". One minor consideration is the question of language. Cheap remarks about how many interpreters can interpret Danish into Greek or Portuguese into Greek can easily be made. Nevertheless, there is now a real problem of communication in the Community, if everyone insists on the right not only to express himself in his own language but that every document should be issued in every language. That produces a massive volume of paper and slows down decision making.

I suggest to the Government that there should be two categories of document. In the second category there should be two languages only—possibly English and French. The Germans and the Italians may well have comments on that proposal, and I do not say that it is practicable or even acceptable. However, the huge machine expands at an exponential rate with the addition of every new language. We should consider the question of conducting business efficiently.

Long before the Greek accession, I understood the Greeks to be saying that two categories of business would be acceptable to them, because the Greeks were good linguists and they could manage in English or French. I do not hold them to that statement, because it was a matter of informal discussion. However, we should face up to the fact that there is a language problem. It is no good sweeping it under the carpet and saying that it will be easily solved or will solve itself; it will not.

Presumably from 1981 there is to be a Greek commissioner. Sooner or later, there will be a commissioner from Spain and one from Portugal. If that is not the intention, I believe that the Minister would have interrupted me. Therefore, I am entitled to ask, what job will they perform? It is widely believed that the Commission, albeit smaller than a cabinet, is rather unwieldy. Should we create an extra Commissioner every time there is a new entrant? Should there not be an optimum size for the Commission?

The idea of having an extra Commissioner just because of entry presupposes that there is a defined job for him to carry out. It is doubtful whether two or possibly three of the existing Commissioners have a job to perform. Therefore, is the number of Commissioners to be expanded for the political reason of the number of countries in the Com- munity,or is the Commission to be geared to functioning efficiently? It could be said that we should be realistic and that, if a country comes in, it must have a Commissioner. In that case, there should be some rethinking about the portfolios in the Commission. We should not merely spatchcock new Commissioners into the Commission, inventing new jobs for them.

My hon. Friends have talked about the unsatisfactory nature of the peripatetic European Parliament. A Parliament that travels is a gross waste of money and anti-communautaire. As the European Parliament can do little itself, I hope that national Governments will see the entry of Portugal and Spain as an opportunity to consider making the European Parliament sit in one place.

Those of us who were on the committees of the indirectly elected European Assembly cannot fail to understand the inefficient nature of the Council of Ministers. Within the technical Ministries the Minister and, perhaps more importantly, his civil servants and key supporting staff are geared for three months or more to preparing themselves for the presidency. Once they are there, what do they do for the next three months? They merely prepare to hand over to someone else. That is bad enough when there are nine countries involved, but when there are 10, 11 or 12 the previous experience becomes more remote, and that is a fantastic way of operating.

There is a constant merry-go-round—a revolving presidency. One wonders whether many of the rows and troubles that have bedevilled the running of the Community are related to the nature of the institutions. The accession of new States makes that situation worse. Do our Government have any ideas how the presidency can be made more businesslike and efficient? Should we not ask our partners to extend the presidency by one year—although that has great disadvantages with a presidency every 11 or 12 years—or establish an understanding, at least in the technical Ministries, that one country has a presidency for two, three or four years? I ask that question as an unreconstructed Marketeer—I shall not say pro-Marketeer—who wishes to make the Community work well.

The institutional shackles are a detriment to sensible decision making. I should like the Government to undertake to ask how the presidency and Council of Ministers work, especially with the accession of Spain and Portugal.

I should also like late night meetings brought to an end. Ministers tend to sneak out and leak information to their press against one another. Some of us, whatever our views on the Community, do not believe that these institutions can serve any purpose.

I have asked from time to time in the European Parliament about the relationship between the Community and, in my case, the Scots. However, let us take any of those regions of the Community that are far from the capital city. I shall put it, therefore, not as a Scottish question but as a Macedonian question. What is the Government's thinking about the relationship between the centre in Brussels and the many new interests that will be raised by such countries as Spain with the Catalans and Greece? I hope that the loud and clear answer is that there will be no relationship other than that with the capital on political matters and matters of policy. However, I should welcome a direct relationship on a regional aid basis between a region and the centre of the Community.

6.35 p.m.

I associate myself with the words of the Lord Privy Seal when he acknowledges our debt to ancient Greek culture. I am not sure, however, whether some of the people who have recently run Greek affairs have a great affinity with the ancient Athenian democrats. Whether Greece should join the Common Market is a question for the Greeks. The point is, do they want to join? We do not know. We have no evidence, because the Greeks have not been asked. We know that the Opposition parties are strongly opposed to entry and that Mr. Papandreou has said that if he comes to power in the next election—as he might if Greece does badly in the Common Market—he will reopen the issue.

The EEC is supposed to be an association of democratic States. I was interested in the remarks of the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor). There is much to be desired in Greece in terms of democracy. A fortnight ago I discussed Greece with about 200 Greek university students. I was amazed at some of their stories. They explained that there were severe limitations on trades unions and that there were 35,000 political refugees from the Greek civil war who were not permitted to return to Greece. I do not know whether the police force has been purged and democratised or how democratic Greece is.

Despite the euphoria of some about the enlargement of the Community, there are problems. The average gross domestic product per head of the population in Greece is one-half of the EEC average. There will be a problem of convergence. Greece invested one-eighth of the average investment in OECD countries between 1960 and 1976.

The Commission has described Greek industry as fragile. It has many family businesses, and tourism and shipping will continue because of the sunshine, whether or not Greece joins the EEC. Greek industry is fragile, and it will be opened to competition. Anyone who thinks that a weak country will benefit by joining the EEC has only to look at Southern Italy to have that myth dispelled.

The existing Common Market countries export twice as much to Greece as Greece exports to the Common Market. The association agreement in 1961 gave Greece duty-free access to the Community, so it already benefits from a larger market. The Greeks have an average import tariff of 13 per cent., but on certain items it is higher. On footwear it is 43 per cent., on clothing 30 per cent., on leather goods 28 per cent. and on metal 15 per cent. Forty per cent. of Greek industry is highly protected. The common external tariff of the EEC is lower than the average Greek tariff, and therefore Greece will face increased competition and the benefit will be negative.

The Greek balance of payments will become worse and worse, and the disparities between rich and poor wider. As we have seen in the EEC, rich nations become richer and weak and poor nations become weaker and poorer. That has been the experience of England. If our industry has been swamped, that will happen to Greece as well.

Greece could benefit from trading in fruit, vegetables, olive oil, wine and tobacco, but those commodities are already in surplus—and we saw the attitude of the French when the Italians wanted to export their surplus wine. The Greeks, however, will have to pay more for their cereals, beef and dairy products.

I believe that Britain will not benefit from the entry of Greece. There will be a special mechanism in the budget, and in 1981 the Greeks will benefit by £54 million. We shall have to pay our share of that. The right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) claimed the introduction of a regional fund as his great achievement and said that it would benefit this country and outweigh the costs of the CAP. However, we get peanuts from that fund. Only a little dribble of our money comes back. Countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal will have a greater claim. Thirty-four per cent. of the Greek people are engaged in agriculture, and such exports as textiles, shipping and shoes are in surplus.

Decision making will become more difficult. We shall move towards majority voting. The veto does not exist in the Treaty of Rome, but it was introduced by General de Gaulle in the Luxembourg compromise and it could well come under attack.

It has been said tonight that within seven years there will be the free movement of labour and that that will give freedom of access also to workers' families. Where Greece leads, surely Turkey cannot be far behind, and Portugal and Spain are certainly moving along. After three years, family allowances for Greek workers will be paid to their dependants in Greece.

If the Government believe in immigration control, they cannot support these applications and the enlargement of the Community. I do not know why these three countries want to join this sinking ship. If they join and it becomes more unwieldy, or even sinks, and a more free and open arrangement in Western Europe results, I shall be pleased.

6.43 p.m.

It has been a good debate, but I am surprised that the Government have not taken the opportunity clearly to state their attitude. Today Commissioner Gundelach, not for the first time, spelt out the fact that the agriculture budget would run out in less than a year. Specific proposals will be put forward to restrain the amount of sugar in the Community and undoubtedly to take action against the farmers producing the milk surplus. If there is a serious basis for the ferocious noises coming from the Prime Minister, concerning the budget, surely the Government should have made a clear statement.

Have the Government considered the implications of Greek accession and the inevitable changes in the Community? I do not suggest that Greece is not entitled to make the application, but it is possible that the Greek people have not understood the effect that it will have on their lives in view of their existing standard of living. Nevertheless, if they want to enter the Community, this House can only wholeheartedly welcome that as a basis for maintaining the democratic institutions in Greece.

The speech of the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) was admirable. If member States are not prepared clearly to demonstrate their commitment to human rights, it will be a cause for grave reservation. However, there is no machinery in the European Assembly for expelling a member State which fails to comply with the straightforward standards of democracy.

With the enlargement of the Community its institutions must change, and the Government should be considering not only the budget but the institutions. They should put forward a plan that the British people could support. The Commission's view, delivered in the mildly peevish tones that we have come to expect from it, is that there are considerable difficulties where Parliaments have a say in how existing Community legislation should be applied.

The Commission feels that sometimes there is either lack of interest or blatant hostility, frequently leading to considerable delays in the transposition of directives. It therefore insists that the institutions must move towards clear majority voting, which has never been accepted by this House. If the institutions cannot change under the impact of new accessions, they should consider returning to Parliaments like ours a greater degree of control over existing legislation, certainly on matters such as the directives and regulations that pour out of Brussels with such astonishing speed.

We welcome the Bill because we believe that there is a political argument for accession, but the Government have failed disastrously to say how they see the Community developing. How will Greek accession be paid for? How will the direct transference of money from the Community to Greece be carried out? Only under the guidance fund and the regional fund can that take place. The Government opposed any increase in the regional fund but presumably told the Greeks that they would give them as much monetary support as they could during the early years of transition.

In practice we welcome a new State and hope that it will adhere to democratic principles and that the people will be worthy of our support. However, we want plain answers from the Government to the questions that they have skated over in the debate.

6.48 p.m.

I shall try to give some plain answers.

To deal first with an ancillary matter, I should like to refer to the Ann Chapman case, rightly touched on by my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), and others. The man convicted of the murder is a Greek citizen. He was convicted by a Greek court of a crime committed in Greece. The standing of the British Government and of our consuls overseas to intervene is strictly limited. Every assistance was given to Mr. Chapman by the British Consul, who went out of his way to do more to help than he would normally.

Now that the case has been closed by the Greek Government—and it is entirely an internal matter for them—the British Government have no standing to make further interventions, though Mr. Chapman is free and correct to pursue the matter through his lawyers, as I believe he is doing. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept that, in terms of our legal position, there is no more that I can say.

With few exceptions, hon. Members have given the Bill a warm welcome. I am sure that that will be much appreciated in Greece and will reaffirm the friendship and old traditional relationship that has existed between this country and the Greeks. My hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine) wants to see the Bill on the statute book as soon as possible, and I can tell the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) that the Committee stage will be taken on the Floor of the House. As an old hand at amending legislation, I must say that if I wished to oppose the Bill I would despair at the possibility of finding more than one or two amendments that would be in order. Good luck to those who seek to do so.

The hon. Members for Crewe (Mrs. Dunwoody) and for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) asked me to discuss what we foresaw as the major reforms of the institutions of the Community as a consequence of the Bill. We have no such plans, and if we had it would hardly be for me suddenly to reveal them. I do not believe that the accession of Greece will cause major changes in the institutions to be imminent, paramount or necessary. I cannot therefore accept the kind invitation of the hon. Member for Crewe to go along those exciting avenues.

I should like to answer some of the specific questions asked by the hon. Member for West Lothian. Like the hon. Gentleman, we deplore the handling of the Roussos case. The application was not put to member States by the Commission, and the British Government knew nothing about it until the Greeks withdrew Mr. Roussos' candidature. We believe that we should have been given the opportunity to comment. We would have been delighted to welcome him as a Commissioner.

The hon. Member for West Lothian also pressed the question that he asked my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal about imports of tobacco and raw cotton. There are no restrictions on the import of tobacco or raw cotton into the Community, so the accession of Greece and the end of its transitional period will make no difference to the import arrangements for those commodities.

The situation as regards restrictions on trade will not change, and it is likely that there will be little, if any, change in the origins and destinations of trade. Indeed, there is a special acceptance in the Treaty of the need to look after the interests of Third world exporters of those commodities. If there is any change, it is much more likely to be due to market forces and consumer preference than to anything in the Bill.

My hon. Friend is being a little lighthearted if he is implying that there will be no impact on the United Kingdom textile industry, which views with grave concern the accession of Greece and the possibility of imports of large quantities of textiles that could further undermine our important strategic industry. Will my hon. Friend comment on that?

I did not say that there were no restrictions on textiles. I referred to raw cotton. My hon. Friend has made a valid point, which is noted.

A number of hon. Members have referred to contributions to the EEC budget. I confirm for my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) that after the transitional period the value to Greece of its membership will be about 600 million units of account. Translated into intelligible currency and in terms of our contribution, that works out at about £65 million. If nothing else changed, and if both Spain and Portugal were members at that time, the figure would rise to 1,100 million units of account, which works out at about £110 million as our share. That is on the assumption that there will be no change in the budgetary arrangements or the contribution that we pay and it would be unwise for any hon. Member to make such an assumption.

I thank the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) for his clear and welcoming speech. He wished my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister all the muscle power that she could command in her negotiations in Dublin and elsewhere. With respect, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would have preferred to use words such as "rhetoric" and "logic" rather than "muscle power" about my right hon. Friend, but I am grateful for his support and I assure him that the Prime Minister has all the qualities needed to take on the major problem of our contribution to the budget. It is wrong to assume that the present arrangements will transform themselves into payments of money in 1986. I am certain that a great deal will have happened before then to make those figures irrelevant.

In our case, the inequity is that there is a transfer of money from a relatively poor member of the Community—we are seventh out of nine in terms of standard of living—to the relatively better-off members. In the case of Greece, there will be a transfer of resources from the richer members to the poorest member of the Community. The hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) mentioned that the standard of living in Greece was about half that of the Community average. I should not have thought that the hon. Gentleman, as a good Socialist, could find much to complain about there. It is a small and purely economic price to pay to secure into the Community a nation of the importance and historic traditions of Greece and to underpin and secure the newfound and much-welcomed democracy in that country.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), with the usual unremitting zeal of the convert, suggested that membership of the Community was no guarantee of democracy. But even if it is the merest assistance, it is a major step forward. Democracy is a fragile plant, and the more that it can be watered, nurtured and assisted, the better it will become.

The truth is that for Greece to join the Community is a political imperative of the first magnitude. My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) wondered whether godliness or cleanliness came first. I suggest that democracy comes ahead of both and that the House should give the Bill an unopposed Second Reading in order to demonstrate our welcome to the Greeks as members of the Community.

The Minister was asked about having documents in only two languages rather than having translations of Greek into Portuguese, Danish, and so on, with all the problems that could arise. Will he answer that point before he sits down?

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.]

Committee tomorrow.