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European Community (Energy Imports)

Volume 13: debated on Monday 23 November 1981

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21.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the proposals by the French Government for a common policy on energy imports into the European Economic Community.

It has for long been an objective of the Community to reduce its dependence on energy imports, especially oil, but I am not aware of any specific new proposals relating to energy imports.

Would it not be in the interests of the United Kingdom to take up the suggestion repeatedly put forward by the French Government for a tax on imported sources of energy from outside the Community, since we do not import any energy from outside the Community and since the whole Community has a manifest interest in reducing reliance on imported sources of energy?

My hon. Friend will know that the Community has taken steps to reduce its dependence on oil, whether imported or domestically produced. It would be wrong for me to say that we believe at this stage that there would be any advantage in the proposal that he makes.