§ 28. Mr. Longden
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now state the precise proposals of Her Majesty's Government for furthering political unity in Europe.
§ Mr. George Thomson
Her Majesty's Government have taken a leading part in the work in Western European Union over the last year to promote political unity in Europe by consultation designed to achieve the adoption of positions agreed and harmonised to the fullest possible extent. The valuable experience gained from this work makes it important that it should continue. We have also made clear our wish to play a full part in any other discussions of political unification in Europe.
§ Mr. Longden
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I put down this Question to the Prime Minister—who has transferred it to the Foreign Office—because, on 17th February, the Prime Minister told my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) that greater political unity in Europe does not mean federal or supra-national institutions on the political or defence side? Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore tell the House and the country—which is certainly entitled to know—what the Prime Minister means by it?
§ Mr. Thomson
If the hon. Gentleman had been here a little earlier he would have heard me use the very same words to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten). I should have thought that the words mean exactly what they say. There is no question of greater political unity, of itself, carrying any obligation for some kind of federal structure. Western 27 European Union is a good example of that sort of thing, without obligation. Other discussions are taking place among the Six, with which we hope to be fully associated on full and equal terms shortly. These do not involve a commitment to federalism.
§ Mr. Heffer
Since it will be much more difficult to enter the European Common Market because of the agriculture policy now firmly adopted by the Six, can my hon. Friend indicate whether we are likely to have discussions with Mr. Olaf Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister, on the question of European unity? Shall not we later have to consider other ways of getting a wider European unity, rather than merely entering the Common Market?
§ Mr. Thomson
The Government's position in regard to Common Market agriculture is clear. I have dealt with it earlier today. We are looking forward very much to the visit of the Swedish Prime Minister, who is arriving here this evening. Future economic developments and European integration will be major items to be discussed between my right hon. Friend and the Prime Minister of Sweden.