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Mr. Jenkin : I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way, and grateful, too, for his advice on how I should
Column 1066conduct myself in the House. He has always been generous with his advice. However, the implications of what he is saying constitute a criticism not of those of us who criticise the centralising process, but of the Government for enunciating that the centralising process has been stopped. My hon. Friend agrees with me that the centralising process has not been stopped ; the only difference between him and me is that I support the Government's objective, which is to try to stop it. Does he support the Government's objective of avoiding a federal Europe, which was the original aim before we set off to negotiate the Maastricht treaty ?
Mr. Dykes : I knew that it was a mistake to allow my hon. Friend to intervene because again he misunderstands.
I shall finish by expressing briefly a couple of descriptions of what I believe is the understanding of subsidiarity as it is perceived in operation in the modern world in the four new countries. It means that they too recognise the nonsense of the extended and continuing unfair attacks on the Commission in Brussels, which has had more and more to do in recent years. That has happened partly because of that pernicious institution, the ad hoc development of the European summit, which has done much harm by loading the Commission with more and more tasks.
One of the worst features of the summit was the Saturday night dinner. At least we have done away with that now, and the meetings tend to end on a Saturday afternoon, which is a great improvement. The Saturday night dinner, armed as it was with delicious clarets and other wonderful wines, induced the leaders of Governments to say to the Commission, "Do a study on that," "Do a report on this," "Let's ask the Commission to look into this or that." And away went the Commission from the summit with yet another load of work. One of the best examples of all was a result of the
intergovernmental process, not of the overweening tyrannical European Commission foisting its views on a hapless unwilling public in all the member states and on all the member Governments. That was the plan for monetary union itself, which came from an intergovernmental committee of central bank governors chaired by Jacques Delors, who was originally rather an unwilling chairman. That should be put on the record. He said, "Thank you very much for asking me, but I am rather busy. Could you find someone else ?" But eventually he agreed to do it. That is the reality that we never have the chance to hear about in the British media.
My understanding of what the four countries mean by subsidiarity has been helped by the fact that I have had the opportunity of discussing such matters with various people in those countries. The modern concept goes into the three strands of effective practical subsidiarity.
First there is a whole panoply of domestic politics and legislation that does not come under the European Union at all. We all have our favourite examples. I think of domestic education policy as one of the classic examples, and the national health service is another. None of that is anything to do with the European Community. That is one sense of subsidiarity, whereby the nation states have plenty in their own terrain and territory that does not come into the European panoply of legislation or directives.
The second strand is that which was originally designed at the request of the member Governments. I emphasise the fact that that is the basis on which all such things are done.
Column 1067The sovereign member Governments constantly ask the Commission to produce more legislation on this, that and the other
The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Dame Janet Fookes) : Order. What has that to do with clause 1 ?
Mr. Dykes : I am just about to explain to you, Dame Janet, to your satisfaction I hope, that that is directly relevant to clause 1, concerning how the Swedes and the other countries that will enter have recently thought about such matters.
We have the Brussels-produced legislation on behalf of the sovereign member Governments. In the four countries that will operate in the same way. According to the treaty of accession they accept all those procedures, whereby there is then a devolution back to the member state on how that legislation is to be constructed.
Sir Teddy Taylor : Will my hon. Friend give way very briefly ?
Mr. Dykes : No, I shall not give way now, because I do not want speak for too long.
We see already that the stream of legislative instruments coming from the Commission week by week--we deal with them in our European Select Committee --is now about one third of the size that it was a while ago. That is because the single market legislation is all finished. That is why there is a sudden drop, even apart from the Commission's willingness to say that it would legislate only in important areas in future, so long as the member Governments did not load it with additional tasks found within the treaties --the nearest thing that the European Union has to a constitution.
The third area is when Commission legislation is withdrawn and left completely to the member state. If there were a project on the table the Commission would drop it, or it would not proceed with a new one if one had not yet been devised.
Everybody would welcome those three strands and say that that was the modern expression of subsidiarity for the four new member states. We do not have the chance to read the media of those countries in great detail--by definition, we are too busy--but I have not noticed in any of the debates on accession in any of the countries any hesitation about the concept of practical subsidiarity.
So what is the propaganda and the anxiety in this country, other than self- induced, self-imagined fantasy of the worst kind, which I think is grossly misleading and unhelpful to the British public ? It causes a vacuum of enthusiasm and great hesitation about our membership of the European Union, which is not found in other countries
Mr. Jenkin : So it is just us ?
Mr. Dykes : --except, of course, the manifestations of the recession
Mr. Wilkinson indicated dissent.
Mr. Dykes : If people are unemployed, how can they be enthusiastic about the development of any union, let alone a European Union, which is too vast and too great to grasp-- [Interruption.] The fact that I am being heckled by some
Column 1068of my colleagues shows that what I am saying is perfectly correct, and acceptable in other forums. Otherwise my hon. Friends would not be heckling me.
My conclusion is that when those four countries are in the Union, which I hope will have happened by the end of this year, we shall see
Sir Teddy Taylor indicated dissent .
Mr. Dykes : I am sorry that my hon. Friend is so unhappy about that. We shall see an intensification of the deepening which strikes such terror into his heart and alarms him, because he knows that that is the reality, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary rightly said on Monday. [Interruption]
The Second Deputy Chairman : Order. This is not a private conversation ; it is a debate.
Dr. Godman : There is considerable substance in the argument of the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) that the processes of widening and deepening are not mutually exclusive.
In response to an earlier intervention by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen), the hon. Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor) made disparaging comments about the European Court of Justice. I should have thought that, with the accession of the four countries, if all four join--I have much greater concerns about the anxieties felt by many Norwegian people than the hon. Member for Harrow, East has--the European Court of Justice, despite the disparaging remarks of the hon. Member for Southend, East, will be the supreme court, in which 17 legal systems will be concerned. There will be the Scottish legal system, the English and Welsh legal system, and others. The court's decision-making almost inevitably ensures a deeper degree of integration of the 16.
We can see what power the court has in terms of domestic legislation. At this very moment, the Government have a case at the European Court of Justice which relates to the payment of invalidity benefit. I have no doubt that if Norway becomes a member, the Norwegian Government and perhaps the others too will one day find themselves at that court in Luxembourg. There is a great deal of substance in what the hon. Member for Harrow, East says.
The Minister has been something of a bystander in this debate. I should like to ask him a couple of questions. It is surely the case that the countries coming into the European Union have to honour certain obligations. My question for the Minister will, I am sure, be picked up by my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) if he catches your eye, Dame Janet.
What is the position concerning the activities of the Norwegian whaling industry once Norway becomes a fully integrated member of the European Union ? I believe that Norway has some flexibility in terms of its membership of the European Economic Area. Is it the case that the rules concerning that maritime activity are much tougher ? Can the Minister state that, when Norway becomes a member, it will have to cease forthwith this disgraceful maritime activity ?
That question was put to me by a group of schoolchildren in my constituency. I awarded them 10 out of 10 for their perceptiveness in asking such a question. One of them said, "Ah, Dr. Godman. The Norwegians will have to stop hunting these whales when they become
Column 1069members of the European Economic Community." It is a little old-fashioned for a 14-year-old to refer to the European Union as the European Economic Community. However, the question is important. As a member of the European Union, Norway may have to honour certain obligations. I should like the Minister to tell us whether that is one of them.
I return to the speech by the hon. Member for Harrow, East. Along with my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy), he seems to be utterly confident that the Norwegian people will say yes in the referendum. My hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth said that the people living in and around Oslo will out-vote the people living in the northern Norwegian fishing communities. I am not so sure that that can be safely predicted.
My family have long experience of working with Norwegian fishermen and their communities. When my father was injured while fishing off northern Norway, he received hospital treatment in Vardoe. More recently, when a brother of mine was injured on his trawler, he was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Bodo. Our links with the Norwegian fishing communities are fairly strong.
There is no point in dismissing these people's anxieties. They have deep- seated fears that their communities could be fatally harmed by the imposition of the common fisheries policy. Those communities are part and parcel of the Norwegian culture, as acknowledged by the metropolitan types down in Oslo. There is concern, and the Norwegian Government will have to pay heed to it. In Norway, there may well be another vote--perhaps by a narrow margin--against joining the Union, largely because this important industry and its communities are threatened.
Some people say that they do not trust the Norwegians. The ones I do not trust are the Spanish fishing operators. As was the case with the fishermen from the former USSR, the Spanish fishermen will sweep the seas clean. They will clean out grounds and then move away. The Norwegians cannot afford to clean out their grounds ; that is why they have such tough policing regulations for those who fish in their waters.
I have a question for the Minister about the obligations that the Norwegians will have to honour. I refer to what the Foreign Secretary said on Monday, when I was unable to persuade him to give way : "Our fishermen will have new opportunities in Norwegian waters from 1997 onwards."--[ Official Report , 11 July 1994 ; Vol. 246, c. 694.]
What are the new opportunities ? If the Minister cannot give me an answer this evening, I hope that he will be his usual courteous self and will write to me. If new opportunities will be offered to fishermen from United Kingdom fishing ports, presumably they will have to be offered to the Spanish as well, although their history of fishing in Norwegian waters is much more sparse than our long tradition of fishing in Norwegian fishing grounds.
Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South) : My hon. Friend referred in relation to whaling to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks). If the whaling matter is resolved by a reduction or an elimination of whaling, which it could be, and if the threat of Spanish fishing becomes a reality, is it not true that a recourse to agriculture, which may be the alternative in the northern parts of Norway, would be limited by the imposition of the
Column 1070common agricultural policy ? The threat may be threefold, even if one course of action may gain some sympathy from the British public.
Dr. Godman : What my hon. Friend says makes sound sense. I am not a lawyer, but, in my view, the whaling question will finish up in Luxembourg. I believe that it will go to the European Court of Justice. I hope that, if the Norwegian Government refuse to stop whaling on accession--if the Norwegian people agree to accession--the European Commission will take the Norwegian Government to the European Court of Justice.
Mr. Hardy : Is my hon. Friend aware that, when the Council of Europe considered the matter a few months ago, Norwegian whaling policy met with the approval of the assembly ? Labour Members voted against it, but, unfortunately, the Liberal and Conservative votes were cast in favour of Norway's whaling policy. That may well have some influence to bear on the diplomatic direction pursued by the British Government, and possibly that of other member states.
Dr. Godman : I can only agree with my hon. Friend. However, the European Commission--another powerful, centralising institution--will have its power enhanced by a wider membership.
There is another point to consider about fishing and the Norwegians with regard to their tough policing regime, which I mentioned earlier. We shall see some fun and games when the Spanish try their tricks in Norwegian waters--the kind of tricks that we are used to on the west coast of Scotland and that the fishermen are used to in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, because the Norwegians will hit the Spanish for six if they try their tricks. I hope that the Norwegians will be supported by the European Commission in that regard.
Sir Teddy Taylor : As the hon. Gentleman well knows, under directive 92/43, appendix v, I think, whaling will be totally illegal if Norway joins the European Community. Does not the hon. Gentleman think that the appropriate question to ask the Government is whether they would go for a derogation in the event of Norway joining ? The law is abundantly clear : the directive could not be clearer. The only question is whether the British Government or others will or will not agree to a derogation.
Dr. Godman : I am grateful to be aided and abetted by the hon. Gentleman. Incidentally, when my wife was a social worker in his constituency in deepest Glasgow, she thought that he was a first-class constituency Member of Parliament. I am sure that he does the same job in Southend.
He is absolutely right. What is the Government's position if those circumstances arise ? For what it is worth, my view is that the European Commission will intervene correctly by taking the Norwegian Government to the European Court of Justice. However, given the backlog of cases from which that court suffers, a decision would not be reached for at least two years. Nevertheless, that institution, that supreme court, will be the final arbiter and not the Council of Ministers--not derogation, but that remarkable supreme court, which is aiding and abetting the deepening of the Community.
May I ask the Minister another question, which also relates to the Norwegians' obligations when they take on membership of the Community. We in Scotland are deeply
Column 1071concerned about the harm inflicted on our salmon farming industry by the deliberate dumping of farmed salmon into markets in what we now call the European Union. The Minister knows about the issue, as I think that I have mentioned it to him before, and I have certainly mentioned it to his right hon. and hon. Friends.
I believe that, under the terms of the treaty, certain restrictions are placed on Norway concerning the European Economic Area, but am I right in thinking that, once Norway becomes a fully fledged member of the European Union, the regulations governing such exports, sold at such low prices, will be much tougher, and that the Norwegians will find that it is a much stricter regime once they are completely through the gate and are a full member of the European Union ? I return to the Foreign Secretary's promise of more opportunities for our fishermen in Norwegian waters following the accession of Norway. What does that mean ? Does it mean that access restrictions will be eased, and that more of our fishing vessels from the east coasts of England and Scotland will be able to fish Norwegian waters, or does it simply mean that a certain number of vessels will be allowed to continue to fish in those waters ?
I was struck by what the hon. Member for Harrow, East said about the deepening and the widening of the Community. Those processes are combined. We are moving, if not towards a federal Europe in the next few years, certainly towards one which is increasingly centralised. I deeply regret the Government's interpretation of article 3b of the Maastricht treaty, which deals with the application of subsidiarity. I should like to see a much greater devolution of political decision-making to a Parliament in Scotland--and, indeed, to local authorities throughout the whole of the so- called United Kingdom.
The scrutiny of European legislation by the four countries' elected representatives in Strasbourg and in their own national Parliaments will bring added democracy to what is at the moment something of a ramshackle edifice, especially when we think of all the fiddling which goes on in some countries and of the misappropriation of structural and other funds, which occurs on a daily basis elsewhere in the so-called European Union.
Mr. Wilkinson : In opening the debate, my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor), as so often on European affairs, was a veritable Valiant for Truth. He has sought to look behind the seven short lines of the clause and to come to the heart of matter. It is, as he explained, essentially financial ; I shall return to it later.
My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) proved himself, as in his youth, a good sapper and miner, inasmuch as he undermined the Government's position on the question of qualified majority voting after the putative accession of the four applicant countries-- particularly as we do not, of course, know whether they will all join. One wonders whether we ought to be passing this legislation in advance of their Parliaments' ratification and the affirmative resolution of their people in a referendum, but that is by the by.
The hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) referred to fishing and whaling, which are so important to Norway. That would take us into tempestuous waters and I shall not take such a course, except to say that
Column 1072it has been our experience in the United Kingdom--I hope that our Norwegian friends will examine our experience closely--that, since we joined the European Community, there has been a severe depradation of fishing resources around our coasts. Entire fishing communities have gone to the wall. I trust that the people of Norway will think extremely carefully about it. I am sure they will.
I return to the financial matter to which I alluded earlier. On Second Reading, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary talked about the "practical consequences of enlargement". He said : "The fact that four relatively well-off countries will be coming into the European Union will reduce the amount that other countries, including Britain, will need to contribute to the budget. We expect our British contribution to be some £300 million sterling less over the first six years of accession than it would otherwise have been."--[ Official Report , 11 July 1994 ; Vol. 246, c. 691.] My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East later sought clarification of that hoped-for reduction in our expenditure which would be consequent upon the accession of the four applicant countries.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary should have been much more open with the House, but we cannot really expect that from Foreign Secretaries. Obfuscation is the name of the game when it comes to matters European, and all Foreign Secretaries play it the same.
My right hon. Friend said that he would disclose to my right hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Mr. Howell), in response to the inquiry of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, the likely increase of the budget for the United Kingdom for 1995. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East is rightly smiling, and I applaud him for his researches into these matters. He said that an extra £2,000 million of additional expenditure was likely to be incurred by the United Kingdom in 1995.
Against that background, a saving of £300 million over six years is pretty small beer. I hope and ask that my right hon. and hon. Friends will not take for granted everything that is said about the consequences of enlargement. Our experience has consistently been that of being duped over the process of European integration. With the accession of the four applicant countries, if four join, the Community will certainly be wider, but I cannot see that it will be a more harmonious Community. Existing tensions will almost certainly run deeper, especially the tension between the relatively rich and prosperous north and the poorer south.
I doubt whether countries such as Norway, Austria, Sweden and Finland will be glad to continue to pay huge sums--Austria, Sweden and Norway will, like ourselves, be net contributors--to meet the cost of the objective of economic convergence. Will they be happy with that for very long ?
The objective of economic convergence will itself be made less realisable when four additional, disparate and different economies come into the Community. They have their own particularities. After the accession of the four applicant countries, the idea of bringing in the Visegrad three-- Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary--will almost certainly be unrealisable. Perhaps that should be made clear now. I hope that we do not welcome the accession without comprehending that, even with friendly countries which
Column 1073have long been well disposed towards the United Kingdom, such as the applicant four, not all will be well in the European Union. I remind the Committee that it was the run on the Finnish currency, strangely enough, which presaged the ultimate break-up of the exchange rate mechanism and our withdrawal from it. Let us take note of the difficulties we experienced when we joined the Community. I am sure that the four applicant countries will experience difficulties at least as great. I suspect that, before long, tensions within the Community as currently designed will be too great for it to remain a union for very long.
Mr. Charles Kennedy : I will follow the example of the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) and be extremely brief. I acknowledge from the outset that my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston), who contributed on behalf of the Liberal Democrats to the Second Reading debate on Monday, made clear our unambiguous support for the accession--as we hope--of the four new countries to the extended or expanded European Union in due course.
After observing the continuing debate or, should I say, constructive discussions in the Conservative party, it is clear that the Bill is part of a triumvirate of important European measures which will come before the House in the remainder of this Parliament--assuming that it goes something like its full length. After Maastricht and this Bill, there will be the own resources Bill which promises to be more electorally divisive in the House in terms of the Division Lobbies. The third part of the triumvirate will be the outcome of the intergovernmental conference in 1996.
Having listened to the ongoing debate between the Conservative Member representing the European Movement and his colleague representing some other kind of movement, not in itself unconnected with Europe, but not connected to it in the way that the European Movement is, it is interesting to note that if that represents unanimity in terms of everyone supporting the accession, one hates to think what it will be like when the Conservative party returns to genuine and authentic division when it comes to voting in the House on own resources and perhaps, who knows, on the outcome of the IGC. While I want to refer to the comments of the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) who, like me, speaks from a Scottish perspective on one aspect of the Bill, I share the general welcome to the four countries. In many ways, they are potential allies in the decision making that lies ahead. They are also economically potential allies.
I hope that the course of the remaining referendums has not been too badly blown to one side or undermined from the outset by what I consider to be the quite farcical "Grand old Duke of York" performance over qualified majority voting and the signals that sent to the electorates and the difficulties it created for some parties in the other member states.
I listened with interest to a Labour Member who referred earlier to his optimism that there would be a Social Democratic Government in Sweden after the general election there towards the end of the year. On the day that the qualified majority voting row was going on, it was my pleasure to join a Conservative Member at lunch with a visiting Swedish politician who would certainly have Cabinet rank in that Government if it were to come to power.
Column 1074That Swedish politician was aghast because the Swedish Social Democrats were having to take a difficult decision in opposition, similar to what happened on occasions in this House in respect of Maastricht, when an unpopular incumbent Government were trying to put through an important measure. The Opposition party in Sweden had to play off what it believed to be the right decision for Sweden's overall benefit against what was perhaps the easier, tactical electoral decision for its benefit in the forthcoming period. It felt disappointed and disheartened that the British Government's actions over QMV were making its dilemma more acute. That may not cause angst among those who would welcome Sweden saying no to accession, but we must note that what we say and what is done in one member state inevitably has a knock-on effect in others.
The hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow rightly referred to salmon dumping. I have raised that subject before with the Minister and, following one of our exchanges, he wrote to me about it. I want to stress that, as and when Norwegian accession is achieved, I hope that the European Commission will be able to take a more active policing role under the terms of the single market which, hitherto, it has been unwilling or unable to take, in respect of the imbalance in the market price which Norwegian over- production and the loading of that over-production on other member states within the European single market has thus far created. I hope that the Minister can give some sign that, if the Norwegian accession goes ahead, we as a nation state within the European Union will press for that improvement at Commission level.
Secondly, there is a happier side of the existing market relations between our country and Norway : the oil sector--not least the oil-related fabrication sector where significant progress has been made by United Kingdom firms. Of particular importance to the Scottish economy, but also elsewhere in the United Kingdom economy, is the fact that, in a fallow period in the UK market, we have been winning contracts that have been available from the Norwegian sector. We welcome that--the issue of the single market and the level playing field is equally applicable in this sector.
I hope that if Norwegian accession is achieved, the Government will seek to use the good will that exists between Norway and Britain to form an axis to ensure that other member states over which we harbour continuing doubts about the level state of their playing fields--Italy and Spain are two countries that come to mind immediately--present us with genuine, fair competition with no hidden subsidies. Those are two practical points.
I think that all of us who welcome the accessions do so in the right frame of mind. That is not to say that the accessions will solve all the problems. Every opportunity that comes before the European Union opens up new problems. These accessions will be exactly the same. I hope that the Minister will comment on the two specific points that another Opposition Member and I have raised or will write in more detail later.
Mr. Duncan Smith : Like the previous two speakers, I shall keep my comments brief. Before I speak about clause 1, I shall give the House a reminder of the long-held links between Norway and Denmark. I have a personal link as, during the last war, my father commanded the Norwegian and Danish wing in 1942. That should stand as a significant reminder to hon. Members of our long and significant
Column 1075connection with those two countries, many of whose citizens died to ensure that Britain stayed free of the oppression threatening us and Norway and Denmark.
Clause 1 winds in the whole of the European Communities Act 1972 with the accession treaty. Like all foreign treaties, it is a curate's egg--good in parts. The good parts may just outweigh the bad. The treaty and the clause get my support. It is important to discuss some of the issues and problems that will arise from the clause, which is the Bill's main clause.
In his opening remarks on Second Reading, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said that Europe had been juddering in the past few years as a result of the ending of the cold war. He used the analogy of geographic plates sliding against each other and moving constantly in the process. I understand that analogy and partly accept it, but I take slight issue with it. We need to take a much broader historical perspective.
In Europe, we are seeing a return to instincts and traditions that we thought had, in many senses, long since died. The accession treaty that brings in those countries of Scandinavia could never have happened before the cold war, which has been the key. For 40 years, that blanket of oppression, which defined two sides so clearly, also split Scandinavia. Finland was locked into a position with Russia. That was reasonable--big brother sitting next to it. Sweden was neutral for the same reason, although that neutrality went far further back.
But that 40 years was not part of a natural process. It was an historical abberation. With the cold war lifted, we are now seeing a range of changes taking place across Europe which perhaps relate much more to the period before the second world war than to the period of the cold war. The unification of Germany has taken place. Germany is growing logically in strength and power to a dominant economic position at the heart of Europe. The position of the worried eastern nations as they look towards Germany and Russia is similar historically to their pre-second world war position. The position of the countries that we believe will come into the European Union is changing. They are having to look in different directions as a result of the collapse of the cold war.
Underneath all that, the Europe of the European Communities Act 1972, to which the clause refers, developed under the blanket of the cold war. Many views were allowed to develop in isolation from the real world. Thoughts and ideas about the drive to ever-closer union, leading logically to some form of central government or federal state, might have seemed logical to states that had come out of the fear of the second world war under the oppression of the cold war, but, with the end of the cold war, it is time to reconsider the way in which these things will develop.
The treaty of accession is the first act of the European Community since the cold war. Maastricht was a treaty of the cold war. It was about the cold war and the fears of the cold war. It was not about the changes post the cold war--the new national instincts that are re-emerging and the views of different countries, not least the four referred to in the treaty of accession.
Looking forward, the accession treaty is the first opportunity that we have to hold a magnifying glass to the
Column 1076Community and the Union that we have created, which is very much a product of the cold war, and to try to understand how best it can change and what is going to happen. We should not be under any illusion about the countries that are about to come in. Many of them are long-term friends and many of them are democratic and adhere to the instinctive principles that Britain has represented over many hundreds of years, but they also bring with them certain aspects that will not be particularly to our liking. They already carry much higher agricultural subsidies than the common agricultural policy represents in Europe. They have much higher social costs than obtain in the countries of Europe.
We watch time and again as my right hon. and hon. Friends go across to the Council of Ministers and argue about matters connected with social policy and express their fears about the imposition of the extra burdens of social costs which would shackle industry and make us less and less competitive both here in Britain and in other countries of Europe.
Article 118 and others deal with the social matters that many of us believe should no longer be in the treaty and should be reconsidered. It is time that they were re-examined. When we consider those articles and understand what my right hon. and hon. Friends are discussing, we must have at the back of our minds an awareness that when those countries arrive they will not necessarily be our partners in discussions on these matters that we oppose. These matters cause us the greatest concern--the imposition of social costs. I suspect that they will not be with us in opposing those. It is more likely that they will be with those who seek greater imposition. There may be some differences of opinion on that, but we need to be aware that that is likely to be the case.
The largest part of the debate in Europe is about the common agricultural policy. The countries that are about to come in carry with them a much higher burden of subsidy than the CAP represents. They would have to take a drop to reach the CAP. Here we are examining the iniquities of the CAP. Sixty per cent. of the budget goes to bureaucrats and into food mountains and, of course, massively into fraud and only 40 per cent., if any, reaches the farmers. We all say how dreadful it is, and that we must do something to reform it. In fact, many of us now have the view that much of the common agricultural policy should be repatriated to the nations comprising the European Community. The Government should be saying that more strongly.
I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to make their position clear on the matter so that we can demonstrate to those countries coming in as a result of this accession treaty that we are seeking a full reform of the CAP. It is not enough for the levels that exist at the moment to be dropped--fraud and bureaucracy must go. There can be only one way do that, and that is by repatriation. The treaty gives us the opportunity to open the arguments again in the run-up to 1996. Although the nations joining the Union will be
independent-minded--that is to be welcomed, and perhaps they will be far less inclined to go down the road of federalism--there are other matters which will cause us some problems and which need to be looked at. I would point my hon. and right hon. Friends towards the position of institutional reform.
When the countries come in, they will bring with them--logically enough--a requirement to have more
Column 1077Commissioners, and the number will go up to about 21. We may think that the system is unwieldy and difficult now, and that it is of a centralising tendency which brings more power to the Commission. However, 21 Commissioners will be more likely than not to ask for even more briefs to keep them busy.
The treaty gives us an ideal opportunity to go forward to 1996 from the springboard of this excellent beginning to reform the institutions. We must reduce the number of Commissioners. That must be a logical position for the Government to place before themselves for 1996, and this treaty gives us an excellent opportunity to do just that. To reflect the nature of what we believe in--a Europe of nation states--decisions must be taken more and more at the intergovernmental level. They should be manipulated far less ; we must not have too many Commissioners.
Perhaps a good thing in the treaty is that it gives us an opportunity to look ahead to the reform of the institutions and of the CAP, and to start opening the arguments that we thought we had locked away following the Maastricht debate. There are things which must be done if we believe in looking ahead from the cold war. That will give us the opportunity to make the Community a workable one of nation states, rather than a heavily centralised, bureaucratic monolith which will collapse under the weight of its own failings. I would also urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to accept that the treaty and the clause make up only the first of two stages of enlargement. If they stand by themselves, there will be failure. But if we accept that this is only a hand's grasp away from enlargement into the east, the Government can feel rightly pleased that we have sought to enlarge the Community. We will have sought not to destroy the Community, but to make it a community of nation states that works.
I am reminded that one of the directorates-general--either DG XII or XV-- produced a document that talked about opening the markets immediately to the eastern countries, such as Poland and the Czech and Slovak republics, so that we could get cheaper agricultural produce, steel and iron. That would benefit us and we would be able to feed people at a cheaper rate and get the materials that would enable our manufacturing industries to compete with places outside Europe. We need cheaper raw materials and those places could have provided them. In return, we would provide them with the cash to continue to develop their own industries.
Mr. Spearing : I agree with some of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. He is advocating a wider and freer market over a wider area, perhaps on a worldwide level.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a famous British exporter, which I will not name, has said that it cannot get iron castings manufactured in this country and has to get them from Turkey instead ? Does he consider that good for our manufacturing industry ? Should there not be a limit to the freedom of markets, in the European Community and across the world ?