§ 16. Sir Anthony Meyer
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what discussions he has had with his EEC counterparts on the stimulation of industries in the high technology sector.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
On 9 November I presided over a meeting of the European Community Council of Research Ministers, which considered the future direction of EC reseach and development. It reached agreement on a number of programmes, including support for some microelectronics and biotechnology research projects to promote the competitive capacity of Community industries. Ministers have also held bilateral discussions with their colleagues in France, Germany and Italy.
§ Sir Anthony Meyer
Is there not an imminent risk that Japanese and other Far Eastern competition will eliminate our technology advanced industries, just as surely as it is virtually eliminating our traditional ones? Therefore, should not the type of programme that my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) suggested be considered in conjuction with a European joint effort, such as the SERENA project for a commercial fast-breeder reactor?
§ Mr. Baker
My hon. Friend will appreciate that the SERENA project is principally a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy. The fast-breeder reactor policy is currently under review and we are examining all possibilities, including co-operation. Broadly speaking, I agree with my hon. Friend. In many areas we can make the greatest progress through international co-operation, which may be on a Community basis or on a bilaterial or trilateral basis.
§ Mr. Speaker
I shall call one more hon. Member and allow one additional minute at the end of Question Time.
§ Mr. John Garrett
What does the Minister say when his EEC counterparts in West Germany and France tell him that they are spending between two and four times as much as his Government on support for high technology?