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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 20 Oct 1983

Vol. 345 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Enlarging of European Community.


asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the Government's attitude to enlarging the European Community while the present financial crisis exists within the Community.

The declaration adopted by the European Council in Stuttgart on the 18 June last stated, in its section on enlargement, that the "accession negotiations with Spain and Portugal will be pursued with the objective of concluding them, so that the accession Treaties can be submitted for ratification when the result of the negotiation concerning the future financing of the Community is submitted". There is, therefore, a direct link between the future financing of the Community and the accession of Spain and Portugal.

Would the Minister agree that it would be wrong to admit new members to the Community, and indeed unfair to them, until the Community has agreed to provide adequate resources?

We would see new resources being required anyway to finance the Community as it stands at the moment. This was one of the points that came out in the Stuttgart declaration. Obviously, if the Community is to be enlarged and new policies are to be introduced, those new resources are even more essential. In that sense I agree with the Deputy that if there is to be enlargement and new policies, then new resources would be needed. We have been pushing this.

Would the Minister agree that no undue weight should be given to political considerations for bringing in Spain and Portugal at this stage and that those considerations might outweigh the reality of the situation, which is that until the finances of the Community are put in order they cannot be accommodated within the Community?

While I accept the logic of what the Deputy is saying, I do not think the Community should ever say that we could give no consideration to political reasons for enlargement. The very foundation on which the Community started, and has been growing since, is the fact that we want to move towards a united Europe. In that sense, Spain and Portugal would be very important members of such a united Europe. We should never say that we would put political considerations aside for that reason.

By political considerations I mean NATO politicial considerations.

As the Deputy knows, we have absolutely no say in NATO political considerations, nor do we take any part at any level in the Community discussions on defence.