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Volume 21: debated on Tuesday 6 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legislative and administrative arrangements are necessary for the withdrawal of a State from the European Economic Community; whether a unanimous Council decision is necessary for a withdrawal to be effected; and if he will make a statement.

The European Community treaties make no provision for the withdrawal of a member State.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to which international treaties and agreements, regarded by Her Majesty's Government as binding on the United Kingdom, the adherence of the United Kingdom (a) results directly or indirectly from membership of the European Economic Community and (b) does not so result.

In the case of most international treaties and agreements binding on the United Kingdom as a party, United Kingdom membership of the European Economic Community is not a relevant factor. There are, however, a number of agreements between the Community and its member States and individual third countries or groups of third countries to which the United Kingdom is also a party, because it is a member State of the Community. These include, for instance, the Lomé convention and the EC/ASEAN agreement. There are others, for example the Community patent convention, which are between member States of the Communities alone. In the case of international agreements which cover matters within the competence of the European Economic Community, such as matters falling within the scope of the common commercial policy or the common fisheries policy, the Community may itself be a party. The Council, which consists of representatives of the member States, authorises the negotiation and itself concludes such agreements, which are then binding on the member States. International agreements to which the United Kingdom is a party are published as command papers in the United Kingdom treaty series, and an index of these agreements is published from time to time. Many agreements having a special connection with the European Communities are also published in the European Communities series of command papers. Agreements concluded by the Community are also printed in the Official Journal of the European Communities, of which copies are available in the Library of the House. However, it would not be possible to produce lists of these agreements according to category without disproportionate expense.