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The verdict on Nice is best left to those representatives of the candidate countries who have pronounced upon it. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the deal that paves the way for EU enlargement was a
Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East): It is always a pleasure to follow the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell), because he is an expert in the field. He was too coy to mention that there are currently more Liberal Democrats than Conservatives in the Chamber.
I do not wholly concur with right hon. and learned Gentleman's views on Iraq, but I agree with him on national missile defence. It is clear that the danger perceived by the Russian Federation is that, although it is currently limited, the radar installations that would be necessary for NMD could be upgraded speedily and could unbalance the carefully devised arms control procedures that are now in place. I also agree that the leaders of the main applicant countries which broke free from communism 10 years ago have given us a vision of their new attachment to European political and security structures. In that context, they welcome the results of the Nice treaty. Having heard the chorus of approval from the applicant countries, from those whose democratic institutions are now firm and whom we want to encourage much further along that path, how can Opposition Front-Bench Members say in the House that they would block the Nice treaty, which is answering the dreams and aspirations of those countries? What would be the response of those in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland if they knew that the main Opposition party in this place were playing petty politics and destroying the aspirations which they have shown so clearly?
What pygmy views do Conservatives have if they think that somehow they will block the treaty, in spite of the clearly expressed approval of the applicant countries' leaders? I ask Conservatives sincerely to reconsider that silliness. If they wish to be taken seriously in politics, they should listen to those who are directly concerned, the leaders of the countries of central Europe. They should not rather patronisingly believe that they know their interests better than they know them themselves.
I disagree fundamentally with the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude). I heard him this morning on "Today" claiming that the Conservative party would lead the European Union in a different direction. Having heard
On any criteria, we had a real success at Nice. We gained our negative objectives in terms of the veto. We gained also our positive criteria in paving the way for enlargement, which Conservative Members claim to want in principle but clearly do not want in practice, given their foolish pledge to stop, if they could, the ratification of the Nice treaty by the House.
Perhaps I should turn now to the Queen's Speech. I agree with the right hon. Member for Horsham that it is not a long one. Indeed, only five short paragraphs are devoted to foreign affairs. There is one short paragraph on renewing legislation on the armed forces, and that comes routinely every five years. If one is planning for a general election in May, there is little time between now and then to change the world by means of new foreign policy objectives.
There is one major omission in the Queen's Speech, and that concerns the question mark over whether time will be found to introduce legislation to control arms trafficking and brokering. The right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife has made all the points that I would wish to make. I merely say that it is important that Safer World and other non-governmental organisations that are active in this area have broadly welcomed the Government's initiative. A draft Bill has been promised and will shortly be published. I look forward to the Green Paper on mercenaries and regret that the scheduled publication date of November 2000 has been missed. The recommendation was made in the second report of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs on Sierra Leone, in the Session 1998-99.
As co-chairman of the all-party Norway group, I am delighted that there will be a state visit to Norway. I know that Her Majesty will be warmly welcomed by the people of Norway. We have left our turbulent past with the Scandinavians behind us. At one time, the Vikings sailed into the Thames--hence the nursery rhyme
To return to the Nice treaty, I agree with what has been said about the failure to achieve substantial reform of the common agricultural policy. However, it is true that the Berlin Council allowed financial headroom for enlargement. In its third report on enlargement, in
The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs recommended also that in the accession negotiations we should not seek to exacerbate divisions between countries. We welcome the degree of co-operation between the Helsinki six and the Luxembourg six. We are pleased that the Visegrad four are now co-operating and that there is more co-operation, for example, between Poland and Ukraine, in trying to prevent yet a further barrier being erected in Europe.
It has been asked why dates were not set for enlargement at Nice. It is expected that at the Gothenburg Council in June next year the Swedish presidency, which is enthusiastic about enlargement, will be able to set dates.
I am pleased also that there will be a new intergovernmental conference in 2004, with a new move to define powers so that ours is not a European Union of the elites. I hope that there will be a serious attempt, now that possibly the high water mark of the integrationists has been reached, to link national Governments in a clear way to what is going on in the EU. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made proposals to that end in his Warsaw speech. Perhaps as a kite-flying exercise, he put forward the idea of a second chamber. That needs to be taken seriously. In the interim, and before a new intergovernmental conference meets and conclusions are reached, we need to consider how we can bind national parliaments more effectively to the EU. I have said enough about the Nice treaty. Clearly it is a signal triumph for the Government to have a clear statement that NATO is the foundation of our defence and security.
I am pleased that the Queen's Speech states that a White Paper will be published on globalisation. So speedily has that promise been realised that the White Paper was published today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development. After the shame of the slashing of aid between 1979 and 1997--whereas in 1979, 0.52 per cent. of gross national product was devoted to development aid, by 1997 that had fallen to 0.26 per cent, which is a shame on this country--I am glad that we are pledged to increase development aid, and that, after the scandal of the Pergau dam, we have also pledged to untie the aid that we give.
I end on the International Criminal Court. That was the subject of a pledge made by the Government in November 1999 in the debate on the Address. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary promised that the Bill would be published in draft. That Bill was published in August this year. The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs made it clear that our priority was for the legislation to be voted on as soon as possible.
I am sure that we are all delighted that the Bill is included in the Gracious Speech, but time is short. I appeal to the Conservative Opposition to ensure that it is given a fair wind, and that there is no silly politicking during that time by those on the Front Bench or by certain
Certainly, there must be proper scrutiny, as the Bill is highly technical and needs a certain legal expertise. It must take account of links with Scotland, and so on. However, it represents a key national interest, and I hope that the support from the Conservative Benches will not be, as the right hon. Member for Horsham said, just agreement in principle, followed by a series of reasons as to why there are problems in the Bill. I hope that there will be full-hearted support for the Bill, in the knowledge that it is, indeed, in the national interest.