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Effectiveness And Influence (Proposals)

Volume 986: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what further initiatives he intends proposing to his European colleagues designed to strengthen the effectiveness and influence of the European Economic Community; and if he will make a statement.

We debated the report of the Committee of Three on European Community institutions on 10 June. On that occasion I outlined the Government's reaction to the proposals in that report designed to strengthen the effectiveness and influence of the Community.

In spite of the contents of the Venice declaration, is my hon. Friend aware that considerable disappointment at the outcome was expressed by the indigenous Palestinian people living on the occupied West Bank? Is my right hon. Friend further aware that it is most important to restore a sense of urgency to this matter and to prepare an updated version of resolution 242 by the European Governments to give effect to the aims and aspirations of the indigenous Palestinian people?

I am aware that there was disappointment on the West Bank about the Venince declaration, just as there was some disappointment in Jordan. The Prime Minister of that country welcomed the declaration as a step in the right direction, but wished that it had gone further. However, the Americans have expressed themselves very clearly about an amendemnt to resolution 242. It is very important that we should work in conjunction with them. There would be nothing to be gained by putting forward a resolution which was then vetoed by the Americans.

On the effectiveness of the EEC over its statement about Afghanistan, has Lord Carrington made any representations to his old bank, Morgan Grenfell, and to his son, who is a director of that bank, in order to ensure that the trading that is going on through Morgan Grenfell with Russia involving two chemical firms is stopped?

I do not think that that entirely characteristic question is worth answering.

In his efforts to increase the effectiveness of the EEC, will my right hon. Friend try to persuade his European colleagues who take an interest in foreign affairs to join the Government in their ban on the sale of arms to the military junta in E1 Salvador, particularly since reports are now reaching us that about 200 people are being murdered each week in that country, where there is no judicial process?

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that the last thing many hon. Members want is a military role for the EEC?

The hon. Gentleman ought to be aware that defence is excluded from the Treaty of Rome.

How can we best advance the effectiveness and influence of the EEC if the interests and outlook of two of the major partners—the United Kingdom and France—are so different and so divergent? France has shown that its interests clearly differ from ours. What can we do genuinely to advance the interests of Europe in this respect?

I disagree with my hon. Friend. I do not think that the interests of Britain and France are so far apart. They are far closer than is often realised, perhaps by both Britain and France. They may diverge in certain places about which a lot of people had not heard very much until recently, but we ought not to exaggerate those differences.