Dáil Éireann - Volume 361 - 06 November, 1985

European Communities (Amendment) Bill, 1985: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time”.

Mr. Dowling: The legislation before the House is merely a constitutional requirement to enable Spain and Portugal to join the European Community. The main negotiations to enable these countries to join the enlarged Community have already taken place at a much higher level. I congratulate our Government for the part which they have played in facilitating the entry of these countries into the Community. There were very apparent and almost insurmountable difficulties, particularly during the year of Ireland's Presidency of the EC and great work was done. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy [1298] Barry, should be congratulated and also the Minister of State, Deputy O'Keeffe, on the manner in which they committed themselves, on the one hand, to the interests of the Community and on the other hand to the protection of Irish interests. They are also to be commended on ensuring that the friendships which exist between ourselves and Spain are in no way damaged in this formal move.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 12 June. We are merely making it possible, by reforming our legislation, to facilitate what is taking place. Since the original six member states formed the Community back in 1957, the EC have undergone two periods of enlargement and round three is now in train. It is a natural, logical development of the Common Market area that such a large land mass as the Iberian peninsula consisting of Spain and Portugal should seek to join. Geographically, one can find no objection to European growth in this way and I therefore welcome the participation of the free democratic countries of Spain and Portugal into the Community. The historical links between the Iberian people and this country would serve to consolidate the friendships which already exist and will continue to grow in the years ahead. Our Government at all stages of the negotiations have facilitated the entry of Spain and Portugal.

I would refer to Ireland's position vis-à-vis the entry of these countries into the Community and very briefly to the developments which have taken place in this country since we became part of the Common Market in 1972. At the time there was a great conflict of interests between various political parties in this State whether Ireland should or should not become part of the Community. We overcame that conflict by referendum and have concentrated as a full member over the last 13 years and have participated in many worthwhile developments during that period. The main plank which influenced the majority of our people, particularly the urban and farming communities, were the structures in the Community, in particular the Common Agricultural Policy. While our entry has [1299] brought a measure of prosperity to some of our inhabitants and has brought about improvement to certain sections, nevertheless when one examines our involvement we cannot be over-optimistic about what transpired during that period.

In 1972 we had about 60,000 unemployed on the live register and in 1985 there are 230,000. That fact demands very serious attention in the years ahead. If that trend were to continue the Community would fail this country very seriously. The advent of Spain and Portugal will add a further 30 million people, making the total population of the Community somewhere in the region of 300 million. I cannot give the figure of the employable people in that number but there would be perhaps 12 million people unemployed in the Community. The structures and the bureaucracy which have developed over the years have not assisted in the better development of social policy to cater for that situation.

Unemployment here is rising faster than in any other country of the EC. Employment in the indigenous industries has almost collapsed since we joined. That is a mere fact of life. How the employment situation will be affected by the addition of another great land mass and 30 million people is a matter for conjecture and something about which we should be very concerned over the years ahead. There are advantages which would accrue, perhaps, in the agricultural sense from the participation of Spain and Portugal. We do not have the same level of conflict between the agricultural products of Spain and Portugal and our own as would be the case with our closer northern European neighbours.

The gap between the living standards of member states has widened considerable since 1972 and has widened further between regions in the one country and little effort or worthwhile achievement can be seen in that area. Unless the original principles on which the Common Market was founded are to be adhered to and there is the political will and determination to ensure that they are properly implemented, the Common Market will [1300] have failed to bring about a diminution of the disparities that exist between the poorer sections of the Community. I am not at all happy about that situation.

Spain and Portugal indicated their intention to seek admission to the Community as far back as 1978-1979. Obviously their reasons for seeking entry were economic. The Common Market is a conglomeration of self interested nations, each protecting its own vital national interests. In the super-levy conflict we were the country that would have been downtrodden were it not for the fight put up by our negotiators, our Ministers and our Government and the support of the Opposition. We would not have achieved anything near what we achieved were it not for our defence of our position. Things will be even harder in the years ahead.

Community policy is of great concern. In an article published in The Irish Times on November 4 1985 relating to food mountains when thousands are starving, a speech made by Bob Geldof before 2,000 people in Canterbury Cathedral was referred to. Mr. Bob Geldof had said that he did not want part of a country or world with a mentality that stored food while people are dying. That is a sentiment with which we would all agree.

An Ceann Comhairle: It is hardly related to the accession of Spain and Portugal.

Mr. Dowling: It is related in the sense that we are preparing the way for the inclusion of another 30 million people who will continue to buttress the institutions and will further add to the food surplus for which the Community can no longer pay. Because they are central to the Common Market, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands have a much greater advantage than the smaller peripheral countries. The peripheral nations should band together so that we can influence the direction of the Common Market and eliminate some of the major problems.

The Opposition Party objected to the Government's handling of this issue. The [1301] Government have done an excellent job. We are a very small part of the Community. We have a small say in terms of voting strength, but we have made our presence felt in a significant way. One Fianna Fáil Deputy said that we had sold out the fishing industry. It was grossly unfair of him to accuse our negotiators and the members of the Government of going into negotiations to sell out a vital national interest and I cannot accept a statement of that dimension of gravity. We all recognised that, once there was an application from Spain and Portugal for membership of the EC, it would pose a threat to our fishing industry and that Spain would automatically pose a greater threat to our fishing industry than any other country in the Common Market to date. We would have had the same problem a number of years ago had the Scandinavian countries, particularly Norway, decided to join the EC but Norway decided by referendum not to participate in the Community some years ago.

Having got the various concessions as outlined in the Minister's speech, which were as much as one could get, it is a matter now for the Community to honour these agreements and ensure that Spain does not fall in breach of these agreements, as fishing is a very important part of our resources. Any attempt by the massive Spanish fleet to invade our waters would be detrimental to our industry. The Government will have to seek special funding from the EC to protect our waters properly against infiltration by the Spaniards, up to 1996 at least. At that stage we should be in a position to take on the Spaniards in relation to reaping the big rewards from fishing.

I support the accession of Spain and Portugal. Portugal, like Ireland, is a small country and their living standards are somewhat similar to ours. Northern Portugal is like the west of Ireland, dependent on fishing and small farming units. They will depend on the regional policy and the Social Fund of the EC to improve their living standards. We will be rowing in with them and hoping that they will support us in ensuring that a fair measure [1302] of the various funds will flow to our countries and that we will benefit to a much greater degree.

I am concerned about the social areas. Will there be a continuation of the growth in unemployment? If there is, the Common Market will decline. Some people say that in smaller countries there should be attempts to support native industries. Dumping has been taking place here from within and outside the EC. Spain has outside interests and has long-established contacts with countries away beyond the European frontiers. Therefore, Spain will influence marketing in a different way as participants in the EC. I am pleased that Spain is taking its rightful place in the Community.

Treaslaím leis an Taoiseach, leis an Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus an Aire Stáit agus an Rialtas mar gheall ar an chaoí ar chuidigh siad leis an Spáin. Ní bheidh sé eascaí orainn deileáil leis an Spáin nó an Phortaingéil ó thaobh an tionscail iascaireachta, ach ag an am céanna tá an miangas ionainn glacadh leis na deacrachtaí atá romhainn. Ní mhairfidh an Chómhphobal muna n-athrófar na structúirí atá ann faoi láthair chun cothram na féinne a thabhairt do na náisiúin atá íseal i maoin an tsaoil ná mar atá na daoine móire sa Chómhphobal. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghlacadh leis an Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus an Aire Iascaireachta san méid a rinne siad chun an t-ullmhúchán a dhéanamh chun an Spáin agus an Phortaingéil a bheith páirteach san Chómhphobal.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Like previous speakers I welcome the entry of Spain and Portugal into the European Community. It is encouraging that successive Irish Governments since the seventies have supported the entry of the Iberian countries to the Community. As Deputy Dowling pointed out, we have many historic links with the Iberian countries and this will help us to develop those links and to look after the interests of the poorer countries in Europe.

The entry of Spain and Portugal will [1303] provide opportunities for us, and challenges. This will open up a new market for our exports, particularly for agriculture, including dairy produce, beef and pigmeat, and with the removal of tariffs it will give us an opportunity to export industrial products to those two countries. I hope that every facility and encouragement will be given to Irish people who wish to export, particularly agricultural producers. They should be given an early opportunity to export to those markets.

The entry of those countries will create problems. Spain has the largest number of sheep in the EC and this may provide a problem for our sheep producers. We will not be affected to any large extent in respect of fresh fruit, vegetables and olive oil, any of the vegetables and produce that grow in the Mediterranean climate. Therefore, Spain and Portugal will not provide any great threat to us. However, I was concerned at one part of the Minister's statement here on 24 October. He said:

In the case of the Regional Fund it will be necessary to revise the financial entitlements of members states to take account of the new members. The provision of the shares for Spain and Portugal means that the shares of the present member states must be reduced in percentage terms.

This should be a matter of concern for us. The Regional Fund has not lived up to expectations. One of the fundamental aims of the Community was to ensure that there would be no disparity between the various regions. We would have expected that the standard of living would be uniform throughout the Community and that the Regional Fund would be used to bring about uniformity. That has not happened. Indeed, the gap between the richer and poorer regions has widened rather than narrowed since the formation of the EC. Therefore, it is a matter of concern, as stated by the Minister, that the percentage of this fund will be reduced for the other countries in [1304] Europe with the entry of Spain and Portugal.

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. J. O'Keeffe): Is the Deputy suggesting that Spain and Portugal should be excluded from the operation of the Regional Fund?

Dr. O'Hanlon: No. I am suggesting that it is a matter for the Government there to ensure that there would be no reduction, that the fund would be topped up so that there would be sufficient money to ensure a continuation of at least the present funding to Ireland — that more funds would be made available from the wealthier countries to ensure that Spain and Portugal will get their fair share as well.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: That is the objective.

Dr. O'Hanlon: It is important for the whole concept of the Community that when Spain and Portugal are full members they will get their fair share.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: We are at one there. When the funds are increased Spain and Portugal will get their share but, even with greater money coming to us from the fund, it will mean a lower percentage.

Dr. O'Hanlon: My concern is that the Minister did not refer to a larger fund. Our present funding should be maintained. The funding of the Community has been causing serious problems and it is a matter of concern that funds available to us have not been increased to take account of the disparity between the various regions. This and previous Governments have been pressing for this because not alone is it in the interest of this country but of the Community as a whole. There has been a problem here because the funds have been distributed through the Government.

In the west and in Border regions we have not been receiving our fair share of the funds that came through the Regional Fund. In other words, there have not been additions to those areas and the [1305] grants we normally got through the Government from EC funds as well as Government resources have been spread throughout the whole State and the disadvantaged areas did not benefit as they should have from the Regional Fund. Negotiations are taking place and it is important that they be brought to a successful conclusion. The funds should be paid directly to local authorities. They and other regional bodies like health boards should be allowed to make their cases to the European authorities so that the moneys would be paid direct to the local authorities. This happens in other European countries, including the UK, and it is time we had that kind of operation here. Local authorities are in a better position to know the exact needs of their areas. This would get over the problem we have had. Additional funding is not coming to the areas for which it was intended because the payment is made through the Government here.

The European Social Fund has served the country well and we have benefitted considerably. With the entry of Spain and Portugal I hope there will be no diminution in the portion of this fund available to Ireland. That is not to say that I do not support — because I do very strongly support — the provision of funds for Spain and Portugal from the Social Fund for their development, where necessary. Indeed, the whole concept of the Community is to endeavour to abolish any disparity in the levels of wealth between the various regions in Europe. In this respect Spain and Portugal are entitled to exactly the same consideration as are the other countries within the Community. The Social Fund has provided much necessary funding for various schemes here. For example, between 1981 and 1984 over £230 million was directed specifically at young people under 25 years of age. In 1981, over 30,000 people took part in schemes in respect of which £23 million was provided and the figure has been rising ever since. In 1984, over 150,000 persons took part in courses for which over £130 million was provided.

Part of the European Social Fund has [1306] been directed toward the handicapped, their training for open employment and certain job creation schemes. In the current year, before the entry of Spain and Portugal, I am concerned that the amount of the Social Fund available for the handicapped here is being reduced. I note there has been a change in interpretation of the regulations whereby only those handicapped who are in training, and for a five year period only, can now benefit from that fund. It is important that those who continuously attend, say, sheltered workshops, and those whose period of training over five years is complete, who are unable to obtain placement on the open job market, should continue to be supported. It is important that the case be made to the European Commission to ensure that funds are provided continuously to meet the needs of these people.

Concern has been expressed by various health boards, particularly the North Western Health board who run quite a number of schemes for the handicapped themselves, that is, those not run by voluntary or other semi-State organisations, that the amount of money to be made available to them will be reduced, that they will be unable to fund many of their projects from the European Social Fund. While the overall allocation to this country for the handicapped has been increased over the years, the total amount paid to the health boards has been reduced by over £1 million between 1982 and 1985, from a figure of £6.3 million to £5.2 million. This must be a matter of concern.

In their negotiations and deliberations in Europe I hope the Government will ensure that there will be a return to the funding of these worthy projects for the handicapped in our community. This is necessary particularly in recessionary times when the health boards will be unable to meet their commitments relating to handicapped persons off their own bat but it is of the utmost importance that the European Social Fund should continue to fund all of the projects in train for the handicapped which they [1307] have been funding in recent years.

Of course the European Social Fund has created opportunities for work experience particularly for young people. It is a matter of concern within the EC that overall unemployment has risen so steeply from the 2.5 million when we joined to over 12 million at present. Indeed, when Spain and Portugal enter the Community, the total number of unemployed within the Community will be increased. It is a matter for reflection that, since our entry into the EC, the total number of our unemployed rose from 65,000 to almost 250,000 at present. While a national Government must take responsibility for a large share of that, nevertheless the European Community have failed to come to grips with the problem. It is something to which they need to devote their attention.

Equality legislation has been introduced but has not been implemented, even though it should have been in December last, in order to give men and women equal rights out of the Social Fund——

An Ceann Comhairle: It does not seem to be relevant to this debate.

Dr. O'Hanlon: It is all relevant because, in the context of the entry of any new country to the EC, we must examine the whole question of funding. We must honour our obligations by way of giving good example to new members. This would be particularly appropriate in the case of Spain to whom we would need to give good example because they have been in breach of the fishing regulations even before their entry. Last week when this debate was in progress here, two Spanish fishing vessels were found to be in breach of the regulations in relation to Irish waters.

Deputy Dowling was critical of Members on this side of the House who accused the Government of having sold out on the fishing negotiations. I believe [1308] that Deputy Daly and Deputy P. Gallagher spelled out very clearly the problems created for this country in relation to fishing. It is also fair to say that the Government did not negotiate the best deal that could have been negotiated. There have been numerous breaches of the existing regulations by the Spanish fishing fleet. After 1996 the Spaniards will have a very large entry into Irish waters which must have very serious consequences for our fishing industry. Perhaps we feel that 1996 is a long way off but, nevertheless, we are creating a very serious problem for those who will be involved in the fishing industry then when special rights will be given to the Spaniards, who have the largest fishing fleet in Europe, to come into Irish waters.

While the Common Agricultural Policy served this country well in earlier years, more recently it seems to be under threat. It is a matter for concern that restrictions imposed on the Common Agricultural Policy — we accept that restrictions have to be applied especially in the case of milk — do not take account of the special position of Ireland in relation to agriculture. The over-production of milk and the super levy are classic examples of this. We are very largely dependent on milk production and, although we produce only 4 per cent of milk in Europe, nevertheless the same penalties in regard to over-production are imposed which can have a devastating effect on us compared to other European countries.

In negotiations, special account should be taken of our situation and, if other countries are affected, their problems should also be taken into account. The aid given to bring our land up to standard has not really been sufficient. The western package and the western drainage scheme are examples which show that, although there is no lack of enthusiasm on the part of farmers in western counties in relation to these schemes, the amount of money available, particularly in regard to drainage, is insufficient. This is unfortunate because, in the concept of the European Community, we would expect [1309] that sufficient funding would be made available to bring our land up to standard.

I mentioned earlier that people in western counties believe that we did not get the money which was allocated for certain schemes, and the local improvement scheme is a classic example. In your constituency and mine, a Cheann Comhairle, the amount of money made available through that scheme has remained static in spite of the fact that extra funding was allocated from the EC through the western package.

When new countries enter the EC they should look at their overall policy for development. There is no comprehensive policy in regard to forestry and it is an area in which there should be a comprehensive policy which would benefit the whole European Community. It is estimated that there will be an 8 per cent shortfall in the world supply of timber by the year 2000 and a 32 per cent shortfall by the year 2025. The EC are only 50 per cent self-sufficient in regard to their timber needs and import approximately £10 billion worth of timber annually. It is obvious that there is need for a comprehensive policy and we have an important role to play in the production of timber provided that we get support.

The EC have a social policy programme which includes public and occupational health. However, since the foundation of the Community, there has not been a co-ordinated health programme and this is something that the Community should look at because every western country, particularly those in Europe, has difficulty in funding health services and the demand for more and more health care. A co-ordinated effort by the Governments and by Health Ministers in Europe would ensure that the health of people could be improved through the prevention of illness and through the promotion of good health. Governments must play an active role in this regard. It is recognised that many diseases are caused by smoking, the abuse of drugs, including alcohol — and there are accidents, especially road accidents — and these are some of the areas where there should be a co-ordinated [1310] programme to prevent illness and accidents and to improve the health of communities generally. The World Health Organisation have introduced a programme——

An Ceann Comhairle: I understand Deputy O'Hanlon's interest in the area of health and his generous reference to it, but if we are to have a detailed discussion on all aspects of Common Market activities, it is not appropriate on the entry of two additional members to speak about health. We should really be discussing whether Spain and Portugal should be admitted and how their admission will affect the Common Market. They are the relevant matters for discussion.

Dr. O'Hanlon: I accept your ruling and you will have noted that I have been very general in my comments so far. I have glossed over areas into which I could have gone in great detail and I am just making a general reference to health because it should be a matter of concern that health has not been given a larger profile in the European Community. With the entry of Spain and Portugal it is time to see if something can be done to ensure that it does assume a larger profile because the general health of the Community is inter-linked to the general development of the Community. Naturally, the entry of Spain and Portugal is a major step in the development of the Community and I am merely making a general reference to these subjects.

I enthusiastically welcome the entry of other European countries but, while we extend that welcome and realise that we must be good Europeans, it is important to protect our own vital national interests. I ask the Minister to use his influence in Europe to have another look at the special Border areas programme which has been responsible through the tourist orientated programmes in the past five years for a very welcome development and something that has been of benefit in improving the regions on both sides of the Border. There will be new border regions when Spain and Portugal will [1311] enter the Community. Border regions everywhere are recognised as being less well off. I am disappointed that the tourist orientated programme which expires at the end of this year has not been funded again. Questions arise with regard to industry in Border areas, of an industrial zone on each side of the Border and of support for small businesses. It is disappointing that the North-South gas link was not proceeded with although I understand that there is a proposal before the Commission that £23 million should be spent on bringing gas to regions such as Drogheda, Dundalk, Cavan and Monaghan. I hope that programme will be expedited.

I should like to see support from the EC, including the two new entrants, for the cross-Border economic development committees that are in existence. They are properly constructed committees with representatives from the local authorities on both sides of the Border but they have not got the support to which they are entitled. There is great opportunity for development in the Community and I should like to see them given the necessary support.

I should like to see the European Community go back to the idealism of some of the founders of the Community, to the great visionaries of the time such as Monnet and Schuman, so that with Spain and Portugal all of us would be good Europeans while, at the same time, looking after our own national interest. There is no conflict in that.

Mr. McGinley: As previous speakers have stated, negotiations have been successfully concluded to facilitate the entry of Spain and Portugal to the EC on 1 January 1986. I should like to compliment the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry as well as the officials who were in charge of the European Presidency during the latter stage of the negotiations in the second half of 1984. It was very appropriate that the Presidency was in our hands at that time because this country has had [1312] long associations with Spain and Portugal.

We have been told that probably some of the first settlers to this country along the western seaboard left the northern part of the Iberian peninsula. Some of the structures they built here, such as the court cairns, gallery graves and passage graves are similar to those found in northern Spain. The association was especially strong in the 16th century. None of us has to be reminded of the Spanish Armada and the numbers of Spanish sailors who landed in various parts of the country from Dun an Óir in the south-west to Tory Island in the north-west. There was also the Kinsale campaign in 1601. In Donegal we are very much aware that one of our most gallant warriors, Red Hugh, left this country for Spain and there is an Irish shrine in Valladolid where he rests. We remember from our school days a very famous book, Brian Óg and the two Irish scholars who spent many years in an Irish college in Salamanca. The associations between our countries have been strong. We have shared a common Christian heritage for thousands of years.

Politically it is very important that Spain and Portugal should become members of the EC. They are strategically placed in south-west Europe and their entry will increase the population of the Community by about 50 million. For a moment or two we should consider the possibilities and the opportunities this will present to us.

While Spain and Portugal are agricultural countries their produce will not be in direct competition with ours. Their production will probably be mainly citrus fruits, wines and so on while ours will be dairy produce and beef. As Deputy O'Hanlon said, their entry to the Community will provide opportunities for our agricultural sector. From the point of view of industry, there will be an additional 50 million people in the Community and this will give our industrialists many opportunities to extend their markets.

I come from a coastal constituency where fishing plays an important role. [1313] It is also important for the economy of Donegal and for the country. I must admit we are still afraid of the threat posed by the Spanish fishing fleet. The fishing agreement negotiated and concluded by our Minister seems to safeguard our interests, at least on paper. One of the main conditions is that for the period 1985 to 1995 no Spanish vessel will be allowed inside the Irish box, a 50-mile zone around our coast. However, as has been stated in this House, this regulation seems to be more honoured in the breach than in the observance. Not a week passes that we do not read in the papers or see on the news bulletins reports of Spanish ships being escorted by our protection vessels into our ports. Last year up to 100 such ships were apprehended in violation of the regulations and a similar number has been brought in this year. I understand that in the fisheries regulations there is the condition that if a ship is caught on a third occasion having violated the rules such a vessel can be confiscated. When Spanish vessels are brought into our ports heavy fines are imposed but I do not think they have much effect. My understanding is that there appears to be some understanding between the Spanish fishing fleet and the Spanish Government, whereby the latter pay most of the fines. Thus, they are not much of a deterrent. If we confiscated a ship that violated the regulations for a third time that would be a different matter. In this country we have only a developing fishing fleet and we could make adequate use of any ship that might be confiscated. One of the shortcomings of the Irish fishing fleet is a shortage of deep water or mid-water vessels. I would advocate that this rule be looked at and if there are repeated violations it should be invoked.

I believe there is another loophole. A Bill was introduced here last year, and it is part of the common fisheries policy, which provided that Spanish ships could register with Irish companies. I understand that at the moment a number of Spanish fishing vessels are registered in Ireland and are using Irish companies for flags of convenience. I would not have very much against such an arrangement [1314] if their catches were landed in this country and the fish were processed here thus providing employment in the ports in the west. Unfortunately, most of this fish is transported directly to the home country thus providing extra jobs there. I ask the Minister and the Government to have a long hard look at this rule which enables Spanish ships to register here. My understanding is that any fish they catch could be taken as part of the Irish quota.

I was particularly glad to see the Minister in Brussels earlier this week defending our interests. There is a rule in the fishery policy which allows a number of Spanish vessels into the 50 to 200 mile zone, but they have to be licensed on a monthly basis. An attempt was made to interpret that regulation in a different way that these ships would be licensed daily. It is difficult to monitor the present situation but if that interpretation were put on it, it would be almost impossible to do so when we are dealing with a huge fishing fleet of 16,000 vessels. I compliment the Minister for the stand he took on this issue which I understand is on the point of being cleared up.

We have had a long association with Spain and Portugal and it is to the advantage of the Community that they are becoming full members of the EC on 1 January next. But coming from a coastal area I would want every guarantee possible that our interests, especially in the fishing industry, will be protected. Our fishing industry is only in its infancy — 1,500 or 1,600 fishing vessels — compared with Spain who have 16,000 fishing vessels. From discussions I had yesterday I learned that the Spanish fishing industry are busily engaged in building more ships. Perhaps they are preparing for the day when they have access to our zone. The Spanish authorities are committed to negotiations to secure an orderly and phased access by their ships to the Irish box after 1995. I believe the rules and regulations which have been negotiated will safeguard our fishing industry and give it time to develop if they are adhered to but the evidence at the moment is that they are not. I hope help will be available [1315] from the EC to help us monitor the situation and to protect our interests.

Like previous speakers, I welcome the entry of Spain and Portugal but with that provision.

Mr. D. Gallagher: Fáiltím roimh an mBille seo. San díospóireacht tá deis againn athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar chúrsaí ó chuamar isteach san EC tuairim agus leath scór bhliain ó shin agus a fheiceáil cé chaoi an bhfuil cúrsaí i láthair na huaire maidir lenár mballraíocht san EC agus cén tábhacht a bheidh ann san am atá le teacht.

I welcome this opportunity to discuss our position in the EC. It gives us an opportunity of looking back over what has happened in the last decade since we gained entry, to look at the future and what we see in store for Ireland, our economy and the development of the country as a whole.

We have seen tremendous benefit for our farming community; new markets were made available and the standard of living in rural Ireland improved tremendously as a result of our entry to the EC. It appeared that a new dawn was breaking and great hope was generated as a result of our membership. It is unfortunate that these bright lights have been dimmed. When one looks at the operation of the EC in relation to agriculture, the Regional Fund, FEOGA grants, and the Social Fund, there seems to be a considerable lack of planning or a sense of taking a forward position.

Take agriculture, for instance. Our farmers, particularly our small farmers, were advised to go into milk and dairy farming. This was taken to be the role that would help their economic position. We are told we have an over-production in milk. There is now a question mark as to the amount of beef we should be producing because the markets do not seem to be stable or certain. We have beef mountains, butter mountains and all kinds of mountains of agricultural products which are costing the Community around £5 million a day in storage alone. No matter how we look at it we have to [1316] admit that something is terribly wrong. If this trend continues, I cannot see that there will be any future for the farming community, and agriculture in particular. It is time that the whole question of the management of these matters was looked at in order to ensure that there is some hope for agriculture and the future of our small farmers.

The regional policy would operate far more effectively if local authorities were given an opportunity of preparing plans and applying directly to the EC for funds rather than having the funds directed through central Government. We see from time to time while driving through the country notices to the effect that certain road works are being funded by the European Community, but if one were to inquire from a local authority as to the extent to which they have benefited from the Regional Fund the figure would be very small indeed. We have a great deal to do in the development of our infrastructure and much of the bureaucracy entailed in the preparation of schemes and applying for grants could be dealt with far more expeditiously if local authorities were in a position to deal directly with those responsible for the distribution of these funds.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair would not wish to interrupt the Deputy but, as the Chair sees it, this is not a review of events since 1972 or whenever we joined the Common Market. If the Deputy, while making passing references to our experience in the Common Market, could relate his remarks to the enlargement of the Community, it would be more in order.

Mr. D. Gallagher: I do not want to quibble with the Chair but there are many references in the Minister's speech to what has happened since our entry. The enlargement of the EC will not benefit us to any great extent because Spain and Portugal are countries whose economies are not too sound. They would be regarded as being in a bracket more or less like our own and this means there will be a greater demand on some of the [1317] EC funds, the Regional Fund, the Social Fund and the FEOGA grants.

In relation to the Social Fund, perhaps the Minister would let us know if it is the policy of the EC to continue funding as at present. We are getting quite a lot of money from the Social Fund and it is providing help but in many areas the money is not used to provide stable employment. Much is spent on various schemes of training courses for young people but these schemes do not seem to lead anywhere. It is time for more positive thinking in relation to the spending of this money so that these training courses will lead to something worthwhile. In the regional colleges and universities we have a great number of students and while I welcome the opportunity these students are getting to have this type of education, I wonder if it will be possible for them to gain any great advantage at the end of the day.

A great deal of concern is being expressed about our fisheries as a result of the entry of Spain and Portugal to the Community. I would agree with much that has been said by other Deputies. Recognition is not being given to the fact that our fishing industry is just beginning to develop and expand. One of our problems on gaining entry to the Community was to compete with the other member states to get the best advantage for our fishermen. At a time when we have quotas for mackerel, herring and various other species it seems ludicrous that we are to have 150 Spanish vessels coming in right away to fish our waters. We are not sure of our position in relation to the agreement on Spanish entry. If licences are not properly controlled the situation will become worse. It is not sufficient for ships of our Naval Service to arrest and take in fishermen caught fishing illegally. Far more stringent measures will have to be taken to ensure that fishermen from Spain and other member states keep the rules.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: They will be, after enlargement.

[1318] Mr. D. Gallagher: The taking in of these people is very often a joke because some boats are used as a decoy so that when our Naval Service is engaged in taking them to port the other boats can get down to the business of fishing illegally.

We must adopt a far tougher line in relation to all aspects of our membership. We have been good members of the European Community. We play by the rules and we find that the French, the British and others blatantly break the rules as it suits them in looking after their national interests. According to an article in the Irish Independent on 4 November the Germans say that we should have been far tougher in our dealings with the EC to ensure that we got better terms for our people on the entry of Spain and Portugal. It is an indictment of our Government and our people working for us in Europe that any outside state or representative should make a statement of that kind. It proves that we are too fond of playing the rules, of acting the good European, when we should be far more aggressive in trying to ensure that we get a better deal for our people here.

Matters will be far tougher in the future for us in the EC with Portugal and Spain being members. Our representatives in Europe will have to fight very strongly to ensure that our markets for lamb, beef and fish are guaranteed and that the benefits which we thought would be available to us on our entry to the EC will continue. The Irish Independent of 5 November tells us that farmers are facing five lean years and that their income in real terms may drop by 18 per cent over the next five years, so it behoves our people at EC level to try to protect all our interests in agriculture, fishing and other areas for which they have responsibility to gain the best advantage for us.

The amount made available to us under the Regional Fund has been very disappointing. We have gained nothing like what we expected from that fund since joining.

Níl morán eile le rá agam. Cé go [1319] bhfáiltím roimh an Spáinn agus an Phortaingéil agus gur maith liom go bhfuil siad ag fáil ballraíochta san EC, ní chuideoidh sé le staid eacnamaíochta na tíre. Tá sé tábhachtach go ndéanfadh an Rialtas, cibé Rialtas atá ann, sár-iarracht san am atá le teacht le cinntiú go bhfaighidh sinnne ár scair féin de cibé rud atá le fáil as an Chomhphobal Eorpach. Níl mé sásta go bhfuilimid á fháil ná go bhfuaramar na buntáistí a bhí tuillte againn san am atá caite, agus beimid ag súil go ndéanfar troid cheart ar ár son sna blianta atá romhainn.

Mr. Sheehan: Enlargement of the EC is welcome to a certain extent, but we must treat the entry of the Iberian nations, Spain and Portugal, with a certain amount of caution especially from the fishing point of view. Their entry will have very little impact on the future of our agricultural industry because we are blessed with a climate second to none as far as agriculture is concerned. The barren, volcanic regions of Spain and Portugal will never lend themselves to agricultural production in the climate they have in that part of the world. However, we cannot rest on our oars in this respect. Their climate will not permit them to measure up to our agricultural production, but I must say that both the Spanish and Portuguese people are by nature very crafty. We will be at a disavantage against them in fishing——

Mr. O'Kennedy: Corkmen could not cope with that.

Mr. Sheehan: Their production of vines, olives and citrus fruits will pose no threat to our economy, but it will pose a threat to a great many other European nations, particularly Italy, Germany and France. This in turn will lead to further confusion within the EC. The greatest threat to us, naturally, will be the fishing industry. Everybody knows that the greatest attraction for Spanish entry to the EC was access to our lucrative fishing grounds. I admit that a very sound agreement has been made with Spain regarding [1320] fishing around this country and for the next ten years we will repel them with a certain degree of success from infiltrating into our fishing grounds. However, their history during the past three decades regarding this country's fishing industry has been notorious, to put it mildly.

In this respect I can say safely that we are fishing for trouble with the advent of Spanish and Portuguese entry to the EC. As a Member of this House who has the privilege of visual proof of the indiscriminate rape of our fishing grounds off our south west coast for the past two decades, I can say that the greatest offender of all the marauding foreign powers that have pilfered our fishing stocks was the Spanish fishing armada. We have seen what happened with the German, Danish, French and Dutch trawlers when we joined the EC. They played their part in creating havoc in our fishing stocks and breeding grounds. I am very much afraid that, no matter how well we try to ensure the upholding of the agreement they have signed, it will be all we can do under present circumstances to get that agreement upheld.

For that matter I am very much in favour of our Minister for Foreign Affairs and our MEPs advocating that special concessions be made for Ireland's case to preserve our fishing industry. If we lose this valuable asset, our economy will be much the poorer. Because of our climate, agricultural produce constitutes our main export, but we are very fortunate in that the North Atlantic Ocean surrounds our shores and we have one of the most prolific breeding grounds for fish on the whole globe off our south-west coast. Everybody is aware that the quality of fish in the North Atlantic is second to none. The fish caught off the Canary Islands, Spain or Portugal cannot compare with the fish being pilfered from our valuable fish beds off the west and south west coasts. That is the reason why the price of fish caught off Ireland and being sold in Spain has increased by leaps and bounds and is the major attraction for Spanish trawlers who take a chance and ravage our fishing grounds.

One of the most astounding revelations [1321] about the activities of the Spanish pirate fishing boats in our waters is that some of the boats have been caught twice and three times. Any law which cannot be enforced is a bad one. Some of the Spanish trawlers have made serious attempts to interfere with our fishery patrol vessels. Under international law, if our patrol vessels sank a Spanish trawler, there would be an uproar and many diplomatic protests to the Government. I should like to know what would happen if Irish fishermen invaded Spanish fishing waters. One can be certain that, instead of being arrested and accompanied into port, the Spanish would sink the boat.

When there are serious incidents, as happened in recent years, between Spanish trawlers and our fishery patrol vessels, the Government should protest vehemently to the Spanish authorities. They should take up the hot line to Madrid immediately and insist on an apology and compensation for any damage caused. Any Spanish or foreign trawler caught poaching in our fishing grounds on two occasions should be confiscated. Unless we take such serious measures, our lucrative fishing industry will vanish in the next decade. Prevention is the cure. The Government should take strong action against any intruders. I am aware of what our fishing industry means to those living along the south and western seaboards. I know what it means to the people who live between Malin Head and Mizen Head. Were it not for that industry, those regions would be inhabited now by the badgers and foxes.

We want to preserve our population along the western seaboard and to ensure that those involved in the fishing industry obtain a decent standard of living. In the case of habitual offenders the normal practice is to increase the penalty but, in my view, in such cases not alone should the penalty be increased but the boat and gear should be confiscated. A strong case can be made for such stern action in the case of second offenders. Over and above the need to enforce the law to preserve our threatened fish stocks the Government should take stronger diplomatic action when the occasion arises.

[1322] I have no doubt that the entry of Spain will pose big problems for us. They will try to insist on having special rights as a member of the Community. If the Spanish Government were prepared to honour the deal reached, they would be welcome in the EC. In fact, the country's entry could prove beneficial to our fishing industry if they operated processing factories along our western seaboard. We should be careful about giving any concession to the Spaniards to establish a landing centre and ensure that they get involved in processing. There will not be much gain for our workers if we allow Spanish boats to land at Castletownbere, Killybegs, or Rossaveal for the purpose of preparing their catch for export to Europe. That will not result in employment here. We should insist that 75 per cent of all catches landed here by Spanish and foreign trawlers are processed here. That would create a lot of employment along the western seaboard.

Spain and Portugal have a right to take their place in Europe and Europe is obliged to accept them, but those countries must be warned by member states that they should respect their obligations to other countries, especially Ireland where we depend to a great degree on agriculture and fishing. We cannot compete with Spain and Portugal in regard to tourism because we are not blessed with the tropical climate they enjoy, but there should be special recognition for the fact that we depend on agriculture and fishing. For too long our fishing industry was treated as a Cinderella concern and we did not take the proper steps to build it up. We did not explore its prospects. It is a pity that it has taken us so long to realise its potential. Without conservation and preservation of our fish breeding grounds that industry will die a sudden death. It is most important that we treat this subject with the respect it deserves. On the threshold of European entry and after two years of austerity a case could be made for a degree of preparedness by Spain.

With the entry of Spain and Portugal into the EC will come an enlargement of the already existing problems. These nations have a right to become members [1323] but we will be faced with greater problems in the field of unemployment. I believe that there is a total of 2.8 million people unemployed in Spain at present, an increase of nearly 500,000 since the end of 1983. This will add to the growing ranks of the unemployed within all member states, with the serious problems which that can bring in its wake.

In December 1984, I warned that the Spanish people and Government were preparing to milk the benefits of joining the EC. At that stage their inflation rate stood at 9.5 per cent, being down from 12.2 per cent in the previous December and from 14.4 per cent in December 1982. That will show the way Spain is preparing for entry into the Community. At the end of last year that country enjoyed a current account surplus of £2 billion. This is in stark contrast to the £2.3 billion deficit at the end of 1983 — a £2 million surplus 12 months later. This shows how they are girding themselves for entry into the Community. Their improved external account, together with the £1.9 billion inflow of foreign investment and tourism income — the latter being their greatest earner, of course — left them £1 billion up on the previous year.

Spanish Finance Ministry officials claim that the reserves at the end of last year represented 50 per cent of the total foreign debt and that this was the highest ration within the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. One can gauge from these figures how they are preparing to make an impact and to milk the benefits of EC membership. The most alarming feature of all is the 2.8 million extra unemployed who are now coming into the Community to swell the ranks already there.

Portugal will not create so serious an impact on our economy on entry into the EC. They are a very old, historic nation and Portuguese is still spoken by one million people in Brazil, a country which chose independence in 1823. Their former colonies in Africa got independence between 1961 and 1974. There and in parts of Asia the language of the people [1324] is still Portuguese. There are almost five million immigrant Portuguese living in different Continents throughout the world.

Lisbon, the capital, sits, like Rome, on seven hills. That city was once the heart of an empire which stretched further around the globe than the outposts of Caesar. They were a very strong force, as the House knows, in the early centuries and certainly made their impact at that time. I have no doubt that they will again make their impact on the EC and on the reserves which are badly needed already by the present Ten that, with the advent of the two Iberian nations, will become a dozen member community.

We must face facts. Like any other nation, the Portuguese seek distraction from their worries. Of their population, three-quarters watch two TV channels serving up a pot pourri of domestic and imported material. The male population is often football minded. You could describe them as happy go lucky people.

Mr. O'Kennedy: They sound very like ourselves, from what the Deputy says.

Mr. Sheehan: A minority of the population watch bullfights. Those who can, flock to the beaches and to camp sites in good weather and young athletes dream of emulating Carlos Lopez's achievements in the 1984 Olympic games. These people will have their hands out for any benefits they can get and will try to milk the golden cow of the EC as much as possible. I can guarantee that they will certainly be apt pupils as far as getting their rightful share from the EC is concerned. We must prepare to make sure that the Common Market is not turned into a common warren, and that if there is to be a vibrant, truthful, strong, economic unit in the EC every country plays its part.

We must ensure that every country that accepts the accession terms of Treaties with the Community will uphold those terms. We are quickly told that if we produce too much we are subject to levies; that if we fish too many mackerel we are subject to levies; that if we exceed [1325] our production in any of the agreements outlined by the EC we must take steps to curb that. I wonder what steps Spain and Portugal will take to curb that. I wonder what steps Spain and Portugal will take to curb their activities when they become fully fledged members of the Community.

We must be vigilant as far as those two nations are concerned that if there is an agreement imposing stern conditions for their accession, these two countries will honour those signed documents and will not ride roughshod over those agreements but will honour their obligations as members of the EC. Until such time as that is ensured and until such time as our Government, Minister and MEPs ensure that Ireland gets preferential treatment regarding the preservation of our fishing industry — one of our oldest natual industries — until such time as Ireland gets that recognition in the Community I for one would be very doubtful that we could carry out adequate patrolling of our fishing grounds with our present fishery patrol vessels.

While one Spanish trawler is brought into port and the fishermen kept there awaiting trial, up to a dozen other boats may be marauding in our fishing waters. The patrol vessel which comes in with the arrested Spanish trawler must be relieved of the responsibility of ensuring that the boat is kept there until dealt with by the courts. The patrol vessel should be able to return immediately to our coastal waters because our fishermen need protection from foreign marauders. They are not asking for too much. Since the age of man began a time comes for people to protect their interests, in whatever walk of life. The time has come for our fishermen to insist that their interests are preserved by the Government and that they are allowed to make a living where their forefathers did before them, allowed to ensure that our fishing stocks are preserved for the sons coming after them in the decades to come. We do not want to see the fishing grounds off our western seaboard becoming a deserted ocean without fish life which is so necessary to [1326] continue the prosperous industry which can thrive on its rich harvest.

The entry of Spain and Portugal is welcome, but with a caution. I hope our Government will insist where possible that all the necessary legislation will be enacted and adhered to and that the provisions in the accession agreements will be honoured by those two Iberian countries.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Deputy Sheehan is perhaps understandably preoccupied with the impact of Spain and Portugal on the European Community and the craft they will demonstrate in milking the benefits from the Community. The implication seems to be that because of their craft and guile we will be the losers. I hope that Spain and Portugal make a major impact on the European Community whether because of their craft and guile, as Deputy Sheehan calls it, or because of their imperial past, which has given them a considerable experience in international negotiations, or the spirit of Real Madrid, Benfica or Carlos Lopez. They have demonstrated a great spirit of adventure. I hope that all of this and more will be brought to bear on the European Community as a consequence of the accession of Spain and Portugal and that they will make a major impact. The European Community needs a major impact from whatever source, for whatever reason, at this stage.

This debate offers us an opportunity to consider where the European Community now stands and how far it has progressed along the road to achieving the fundamental aims of the Community. We joined the Community on the basis of the Treaty of Rome and our Treaty of Accession. Spain and Portugal are now to join on the same basis. While we are understandably preoccupied with the impact on the Regional and Social Funds, the CAP and the fishing industry, I should like to dwell on the preoccupation all of us should have in trying to renew the whole spirit of Europe and make it much more meaningful for the citizens of Europe. We would be deluding ourselves [1327] if we thought that the European Community is as relevant today as it was when the Treaties were launched 30 years ago. How relevant does it appear to be to the unemployed in Europe, whose numbers have increased more than two and a half times in the past ten years?

It is time to recognise the reality that the non-EC countries in Europe, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Austria, have come through the recent recession in a far healthier economic state than the countries in the European Community. Allowing for different structures and growth patterns, it is quite extraordinary that the levels of growth in these countries over the past five years have far exceeded the levels of growth of member states of the EC and similarly the levels of unemployment in those other countries are very much lower than in even the most prosperous states of the Community. Somehow that spirit of pride and enterprise is at least as evident in those countries as it is in the EC, which has turned in on itself and become preoccupied with such issues as “How much will they take from us?” or “How much will we have to give to them?” — wrangles of the kind which have been associated particularly with the budget issue and the British Prime Minister.

We must consider where the Community is going and where its failures have been. There is talk now about the need for a new Treaty, and I am glad to see Deputy Tom O'Donnell is here because this point has been mentioned in Parliament, one of the hopeful signs of the Community. We have not even begun to implement the principles of the old Treaty. The Treaty, which started with the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, was concerned with the common commitment to secure peace in Europe and it resolved as follows:

to substitute for age-old rivalries the merging of their essential interests, to create by establishing an economic community, the basis for a broader and deeper community among peoples long divided by bloody conflicts: and to lay [1328] the foundations for institutions which will give direction to a destiny henceforward shared.

That was a Treaty between nations which were hitherto divided in war and the purpose was to secure the peace by a shared commitment to the economic well-being of the member states. It was followed in 1957 by the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community:

...to lay the foundations for institutions which will give directions to a destiny henceforward shared among the people of Europe.

This was on the basis of economic programmes, closer understanding and common commitments to basic principles.

Where is that now? How much are we seeing of the ever closer union between the peoples of Europe? At European Council level what we are doing is engaging in constant wrangles between Heads of Government, some of whom are trying to demonstrate their muscle and their authority in an institution which was not part and should never have become part of the institutions of the original treaties. We often call down the god figures Schumann, de Gaspari, Spaak, as if we are somehow adhering to what they did in Rome. They knew when they framed those Treaties that they had the overwhelming endorsement of all of their peoples. The Treaties were framed to give expression to the will of the peoples all over Europe. That was the feeling at the time. The feeling then was called “the high tide of democracy in Europe”.

Thirty years on, it has to be acknowledged that the age old rivalries in war have been banished from the member states. That is an achievement. We were not involved in those age old rivalries: we had our own troubled history, with just one rivalry, which constantly dominated us here. The EC has achieved an end to those rivalries and that is its greatest achievement in my view, but perhaps that is not always appreciated by those of us who were not caught up in those bloody conflicts throughout this century so far.

[1329] Our latest indications of the progress being made were given in the elections to the European Parliament. Can anyone say that in these elections, in any of the member states, the issues before the people were European interests? Those elections had very low turnouts throughout the Community states. Did not that indicate to us that the peoples of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Britain and Ireland did not see the relevance of the EC to their problems? It is time we recognised the realities and compared the employment levels now and the high hopes we had in Ireland in regard to the regional fund and agricultural policy for Europe when we joined the Community 13 or 14 years ago. European issues were not relevant in the parliamentary elections because the prevailing attitude of the peoples was apathetic to the European Communities.

The EC suffered as a consequence of the apathy of the peoples. Our people here could not be expected to have read the Preamble to the Rome Treaty but, if they had, they could not readily accept that the member states or the institutions of the Community have been, and I quote from the preamble, “affirming as the essential objective of their efforts the constant improvement of the living and working conditions of our peoples”. The Treaties and their promoters at the time could be said to be the high tide of democracy in Europe but it is fair enough to say that the European experience in recent times would indicate the ebb tide of democracy in Europe.

The European Parliament suffers from the failures of the other institutions to adhere to the stated aims and objectives of the Treaties. We are now expected to talk about new Treaties. In Europe we are faced with challenges which do not require a new treaty as has been suggested in bilaterial discussions between Heads of Governments. What we really require is a renewal of a contract to build on the solid foundations of the original Treaty. If the EC is to have any relevance or meaning that is what it must be about now.

[1330] There is no surge of feeling in Europe at the moment for a new treaty. There is scepticism if not cynicism at our failure to make the EC responsive to the needs of today as the original Treaty was to the needs of yesterday. The original Treaty laid the foundations for the institutions but, in my experience, the institutions have failed lamentably to give direction, to quote the Preamble, to a destiny which would henceforward be shared. Were they meant to be mere words that we call down on occasions and then engage in our own constant battling with each other, when the big dominate the weak?

We have had twice yearly meetings of Heads of Governments in the past decade. Go for a day, home for a day, in the full glare of summit publicity. The manner in which these meetings of Heads of Governments — they were not part of the original Treaty — have dominated the activities of the European Community. That is the single biggest problem of the EC in recent times. The European Council were meant to promote and give authority and direction at the highest level of the EC institutions, namely, Commission, Parliament and Council, in the discharge of the proposals in the Treaty. The meetings of heads of states are not in themselves an institution under the Treaty and as such are not subject to the conditions and disciplines of the Treaty. Consequently, what have we seen happen?

Perhaps it was predictable, but from time to time we have seen the British Government and the current Prime Minister — I have personally seen it — with little or no awareness, literally dominating discussions in the European Council which were meant to give direction to the future of Europe. There was one preoccupation, the budget issue and the share that Britain would take. Is it any wonder that we have turned in on ourselves in Europe? Is it any wonder that nations outside the EC are making greater progress than those of us in the EC? The whole wrangle has been about preoccupation with who pays which share and who gets what back, in this instance the British, in regard to a budget which [1331] is already clearly inadequate to meet the commitments of Europe as it is, much less Europe as it will be with the accession of Spain and Portugal. I will give samples of some of the claims that have been made in relation to the budget and Britain's contribution to it. Up to almost 50 per cent of what the British Prime Minister claims to be Britain's contribution——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I appreciate that you are doing a review of the EC, but you may make only a passing reference. The Bill deals only with the entry of Spain and Portugal.

Mr. O'Kennedy: I understand. I agree with and I support the views of all Members of the House who would speak in strictly defined terms of the accession of Spain and Portugal and the effect it will have on Ireland.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is what the Bill is about.

Mr. O'Kennedy: The Bill is about amending EC legislation——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: By the addition of two members.

Mr. O'Kennedy: I am talking about the role of this Community and where it is going. Perhaps it would be better if all of us got up and attacked Spain or Portugal about fishing rights, or whatever. It is not too much to ask that one or two countries might look at where Europe is going and how relevant is the whole exercise. That is what I am addressing myself to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Passing references to the British budget——

Mr. O'Kennedy: What is clearly needed in terms of the management and direction of Europe are policies across the whole range of areas, industrial innovation, research and development, all of [1332] which raise the matter of vital technological development not being promoted in Europe at this time. More money is being dissipated by individual efforts of member states, for instance on research and development, than the total amount being spent on research and development and technology in the United States or Japan. Though we are spending more than they do, we are reacting to the technological advances they have made because we have failed to find a common cause.

There is no common programme for research and development or for industrial innovation, although the policies have existed and have been contained in the mandate proposals from the Commission since the period during which I was involved. They are all awaiting implementation. The reality is that when they meet, the Heads of Government are more concerned with battling with each other, giving the impression, after one day's attendance three times a year, that they have somehow achieved something significant, dominating the news headlines in the full glare of summit publicity. It is time they learned a little about Europe and began to allow its institutions to operate.

In this context I want to demonstrate the extent of the problem. Almost 50 per cent of what the British Government claim to be their contribution to the EC comes from agricultural levies and common customs tariffs.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is the Deputy aware of the contents of this Bill?

Mr. O'Kennedy: I am, indeed.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am trying to keep the Deputy in line with that.

Mr. O'Kennedy: You will be aware, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, of the fact that, in the EC, our biggest problem——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy, we always allow passing references but [1333] you are reverting again to the British budget——

Mr. O'Kennedy: I have heard this phrase “passing references” very often. On almost every occasion any one of us addresses himself to something the phrase is used: we will allow passing references.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Would the Deputy speak to the Bill?

Mr. O'Kennedy: I am speaking to a Bill that talks about an extension of a Community and to which I am addressing myself.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is the basis of the Bill but not the British budget.

Mr. O'Kennedy: If I should confine myself to pointing the finger at the Spanish and Portuguese——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am not asking the Deputy to point the finger at anyone. I am pointing the finger at the Bill.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Regrettably and unfortunately the Chair does not seem to be able to understand that this is indeed very relevant to the——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair understands what the Bill is about and understands that the Deputy is——

Mr. O'Kennedy: I am afraid not. I want to get a copy of the Bill to demonstrate that it is an amendment of Treaties I am talking about.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the Deputy wants to read out the title, I will give him a copy in case he has not got one already.

[1334] Minister of State at the Department of Education (Mr. Creed): That is co-operation in North Tipperary.

Mr. O'Kennedy: The title reads:



An Act to amend the European Communities Act, 1972, so as to provide that the treaty concerning the accession of the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic to the European Economic Community and to the European Atomic Energy Community and the decision of the Council of the European Communities relating to the accession of the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic to the European Coal and Steel Community shall be part of the domestic law of the State.

If you are going to tell me, A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that addressing the fundamental role of the European Coal and Steel Community, and where it is failing, is not relevant, then I do not know what is relevant.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: What is in order in this discussion is the matter of the accession of Spain and Portugal and the effect of such accession on the Community. That is the basis of this Bill.

Mr. O'Kennedy: One of the issues we shall have to face in the context of the accession of Spain and Portugal — rather than wrangles about whether or not contributions that are, in reality to 50 per cent in Britain's case “own resources” of the EC — is the whole question of the increase of those “own resources”. That is in order to ensure that, after the accession of Spain and Portugal — and hopefully in the future, because who is to draw a limit to the European Community simply in the interests of those of us who are within at present — we shall have adequate resources to fund the policies of the European Community as laid down in the Treaty, starting with the European Coal and Steel Community, quoted in the long title of this Bill. That is where the failure exists at present. No adequate [1335] resources are being provided. The ceiling on VAT is still being adhered to as a consequence of decisions of the European Council, which is affecting the Council of Ministers and the Commission that has not had the courage and authority to face the European Council and the Council of Ministers though I would have to acknowledge that the new Commission is showing a fair bit more guts and authority than its predecessor.

Our habit within the European Community in recent times has been to concentrate on what is called the cost of it. The Common Market is the term used even today in the debate. We are not just dealing with a Common Market. We are dealing with what is specifically said in the long title of this Bill to be the European Economic Community and I want to say a few words on that. The Common Market will always give advantage to the strong trading nations to derive maximum opportunity and benefit from the accession of new members. The Federal Republic of Germany, France and Britain — incidentally whose exports to the Community have increased considerably by almost £10 billion since they joined— are the first countries who can benefit from the accession of new member states because they are in an economic position to do so. They have much greater capacity to exploit new markets. To that extent the availability of these two new additional markets, plus the countries with which Spain and Portugal have had considerable trading associations over the years, will constitute a major boost to the trading pattern of the major economies of Europe. If that is the case the resources of the European Community and the policies necessary to maintain a balanced economic development within the European Community must be fairly and properly provided by those same member states.

I am tired of hearing anyone referred to as the paymasters of Europe. I do not intend to engage in any attack on Government — in this instance it is a bigger issue as far as I am concerned — [1336] but I hear the Germans say that we bungled EC aid. They are described, in this article I have to hand, as the paymasters of Europe. They are no such thing. How can people claim to be paymasters when they derive more benefits than we do from the trade avenues open to them? If the rules of the Community say that contributions are made it is time we recognised that that is the basis of the Community. We must get away from the notion that Germany, Britain or anybody else are the paymasters and that the rest of us are holding the begging bowl. If the principles of the Treaty are implemented it is clear that the so-called paymasters gain much from free trade within the Community. The reason the founding members introduced that balance was to ensure that the gains made would not be of such a nature as to create an imbalance between them and the other member states in the Community. The reason for the policies was to ensure that the imbalance would not be of such a nature as to prevent the idea of anything like a balanced Community ever developing.

With the accession of Spain and Portugal we should be talking about the role and obligation of the people of all member states to ensure that there are adequate resources to fund the policies for the necessary development of Europe. Maybe the policies of the founding fathers are irrelevant, perhaps they were just flowing phrases which meant nothing. Maybe we should tell the young people of the Community that the role of Europe is not to generate policies for employment or industrial innovation. However, we must be realistic and recognise that that is Europe's role, the role which was contemplated and presented in the Treaties and it is time that we all faced that reality. I must tell the member states who are about to join the Community that it is not full of vigour, awareness of its history, confident of its future or concerned about the citizens of its member states. I am afraid they are joining a Community composed of a bureaucracy which does not have much contact with the problems in unemployed centres [1337] throughout the Community. I do not know whether the nature of the Commission and the level of salaries paid there are such as to isolate people from these problems but those who are charged with implementing the ideals of the Community should never allow themselves to get too far from realities and the crushing burden which they impose on so many people. If they were in touch with reality, perhaps there would be a sense of urgency in implementing policies which have not been put into practice. Tindemans was an excellent, committed European and his report still awaits implementation. There are many other reports gathering dust on shelves; each new prime minister comes up with an idea but these reports are never acted on. The Tindemans report is the most outstanding and it is time that we threw it in the dustbin or acted upon it. Will we ensure that the Commission is independent or will we watch that independence being undermined as has been happening for a considerable time? Will we ensure that the Council of Ministers will in fact be a council comprising as it does members from each Government who are not conscious of the Council of Ministers being from a big or a small country as they were at the European Council in the days of Helmut Schmidt, Giscard D'Estaing, Mitterand or Margaret Thatcher? The Council of Ministers is an institution of the Community and it must be promoted as such. The European Council should be in the background where it belongs because it has put the Community on a course far from that for which it was originally established.

We can look on the accession of Spain and Portugal as a crushing problem which will cause all kinds of difficulties for us. I will not deal with fisheries or agriculture because there are others who are better equipped to deal with these subjects. Even allowing for the advantage that bigger powers have in exploiting the opportunities of trade in the European Community, we have failed to exploit opportunities in our own interest. We must not always blame others because our market penetration in Europe is [1338] deplorably weak. We have relied on FEOGA guarantees but we have done little or nothing to effectively exploit the opportunities in that huge market of 260 million people which will now be well in excess of that number. The only way to exploit that market is by becoming familiar with it and until such time as the young people in whom we should invest, not for short term six month schemes——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is drifting from Spain and Portugal although I appreciate his concern.

Mr. O'Kennedy: To use your own words, it is a passing reference. We must educate our young people for the opportunities which exist in promoting market outlets and that means language familiarity which is part of the European experience where our young people will feel as much at home in the Netherlands as the Belgians do and vice versa. Until we achieve that we will not be successful and it is time that we adopted a vigorous and aggressive approach. I welcome the growing awareness of the need to promote a proper marketing strategy and it forms a central role in the policies of Fianna Fáil. I hope that we can reallocate resources to education for permanent employment——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is this following the accession of Spain and Portugal?

Mr. Kelly: I completely agree with Deputy O'Kennedy. I am delighted that he has been converted.

Mr. O'Kennedy: I am not converted, I may not have expressed my views in exactly the same way as Deputy Kelly——

Mr. Kelly: Because Deputy O'Kennedy is too cute to do so.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Neither Deputy is speaking on the Bill at present.

Mr. O'Kennedy: I acknowledge that [1339] Deputy Kelly may have been misunderstood and perhaps misrepresented because he has always been consistent in this and other areas but I am talking about preparing our people——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: You are not speaking on the Bill.

Mr. O'Kennedy: There is a fantastic potential for us in an expanded Europe provided that we are familiar with the ways and habits of an expanded Europe, how they eat, dress and behave and then we will be able to supply the markets as a result of our familiarity with them.

Mr. Kelly: I have been saying these things for years.

Mr. O'Kennedy: I take that as a compliment from Deputy Kelly and we will have to develop that point at greater length some other time. Leo Tindemans said that if we want to give the Europeans of tomorrow a personal and concrete impression of the European reality and a detailed knowledge of what it should be, then we must also teach them a deep appreciation of our languages, our cultures and everything that makes us different from each other but at the same time sharing a common European inheritance. It is time we recognised that our language is a special part of that culture, something that is respected by the Europeans even more than by us.

I hope that the Europe of tomorrow will be much closer to the concept of Europe launched by the founding fathers 30 years ago than to the Europe we have witnessed in the past five or ten years. I hope that in the Europe of tomorrow the cultural pluralism spoken of by people such as Leo Tindemans will be a major feature so that all of us will have something of which we can be proud. Perhaps our contribution to that development will be even greater than what we claim it has been in the past. Perhaps then we will not confine ourselves when talking about new member states merely to a reaction to the problems that may cause for us but [1340] rather that we will see the opportunities an expanded Europe will have for all of us in the future.

Mr. O'Donnell: Ba mhaith liom a rá gur cúis áthais go bhfuil an deis seo agam labhairt sa díospóireacht tábhachtach seo faoi leathnú an Chomhphobal. Cúis áthais dúinn go léir go bhfuil an Spáin agus an Phortaingéil ag teacht isteach.

As a Member of this House who also has the privilege of being a member of the European Parliament, I am delighted to have the opportunity to make a brief contribution in this very important and historic debate. The enlargement of the Community to include Spain and Portugal is a logical, natural and desirable development. It can truthfully be said that the extension of the Community to embrace Spain and Portugal — the Iberian peninsula — is a step that has received widespread support throughout the Community of Ten. It is also true that the accession of Spain and Portugal is supported and endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the Irish people.

This morning Deputy McGinley referred to the historic and cultural links between the Iberian peninsula and this small island country on the northern periphery of the Community. These links are very strong. It is appropriate that the Deputy should have referred to them because when one travels throughout Spain, and in particular Madrid, one sees such Donegal names as O'Neill and O'Donnell quite frequently. I was pleased on a recent visit to Madrid to the Congress of the European Christian Democrats to find that one of the main thoroughfares in that city is Calle O'Donnell. We have a common Celtic heritage and this has significant implications in the context of evolving European union. The accession of Spain and Portugal will add to the diversity and richness of our European cultural heritage.

However, we must remember that the negotiations for the accession of Spain and Portugal were difficult, complex and protracted. That was understandable. We are talking about a peninsula on the south western periphery of the EC. The [1341] accession of Spain and Portugal has major implications for the other Mediterranean countries of the Community and it has also implications for this small island country on the northern periphery of Europe vis-à-vis agriculture and also the regional policy. The accession of those countries poses major problems in relation to the whole future of the Community's regional policy. However, despite the accession problems, goodwill prevailed on all sides. It is only right and proper that we should place on record the significant contribution made by the Taoiseach and by the Minister for Foreign Affairs during our Presidency. In particular, the Dublin summit in December 1984 marked the final breakthrough towards the successful conclusion of what were detailed and complex negotiations.

This morning other Members referred to various aspects of the enlargement of the Community. I listened to Deputy Sheehan dealing at length with the implications of enlargement for our fishing industry and Deputy McGinley also spoke on that point but because those implications have been dealt with in detail I will not speak on that aspect.

In his speech last week Deputy Collins on the other side of the House spoke about European regional policy. To put the whole matter of enlargement in a proper context it may be well to give a few facts and figures, particularly in relation to regional disparities. These disparities will be far greater in a Community of 12 than in a Community of Ten and certainly immensely greater than they were in the original Community of Six.

It is interesting to note that enlargement of the Community to include Spain and Portugal will increase the total GDP by 8 per cent and the population by 18 per cent. From our point of view it is significant that it will practically double the population of the weakest regions. The number of people employed in agriculture will increase by 37 per cent as against 14 per cent for those employed in industry. Agricultural products will increase by 24 per cent compared with [1342] slightly more than 6 per cent in the case of industrial products.

Highly significant from our point of view is the fact that in the enlarged Community of 12 regions with a per capita GDP below 60 per cent of the average of the Community of 12 will cover approximately 60 million inhabitants, nearly 20 per cent of the total population of the enlarged Community. It will cover all of Portugal, Greece, Ireland, the Mezzogiorno region of southern Italy and more than half of Spain. This means that the demands on the European Regional Development Fund will be immensely greater. We have to realise that the implementation of a realistic and coherent regional policy now becomes a matter of the greatest urgency. The Regional Policy Committee in the European Parliament last week completed a major study on the regional implications of the enlargement of the Community and a debate will take place in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, on this very important issue next week.

If the Community is to progress, and if the objective of European Union is to become a reality, the major problem which has to be tackled, particularly in view of the enlargement, is the widening regional disparities within the Community. As far as I can remember, in the original Community the ratio between the richest and the poorest regions was one to four, then one to six, then one to eight and now it is one to 12. These are frightening disparities but unfortunately they were widening all the time. It has been an unfortunate characteristic of the Community that the rich regions tended to get richer while the poor regions tended to get poorer. With the accession of Spain and Portugal we are bringing in a vast area with a per capita income lower than the poorest regions of the existing Community. As far as I can recall, the inhabitants of 34 per cent of the geographic area of Spain and Portugal have a per capita income lower than the lowest region in the present Community. We must have a realistic regional policy, otherwise this trend will be worsened.

[1343] There have been significant developments in the past year with the introduction of the integrated Mediterranean programmes. One of the problems caused by the accession of Spain and Portugal was the economic and social implications for Italy, the south of France and the Mezzogiorno. To overcome these difficulties a programme of regional development was formulated for the Mediterranean region, now known as the integrated Mediterranean programmes. This is an entirely new approach to regional policy. It is a logical and practical approach and, in my view, it will have to be applied to other underdeveloped regions of the Community. This raises the question of the undeveloped regions in the north-west of the Community. On our accession the whole island of Ireland was regarded as one region. There are parts of the United Kingdom which are underdeveloped and have major economic and social problems.

In the debate on the Dooge Report, the Minister for Labour put forward a theory that there was dire need for an integrated approach to the development of the poorer regions in the north-west of the Community. I believe the integrated regional development programme which has been introduced for the Mediterranean regions could be applied to the north-west of the Community. With the accession of Spain and Portugal to the Community the whole question of a regional policy assumes a new dimension and there are implications in this for us as well. Since our entry to the EC, successive Governments have been guilty in one area: our approach to collecting money from the European Regional Development Fund is that the Government submit a list of projects to Brussels and the grant aid in respect of these projects is paid retrospectively into the national Exchequer. This Government, and previous Governments, have tended to regard the European Regional Development Fund as an additional source of revenue for the national Exchequer [1344] rather than being an instrument to promote proper regional development, particularly in the west, the type of region for which that fund was originally intended.

In the context of the accession of Spain and Portugal to the Community, I am concerned that the finances will not be adequate to make the massive transfer of resources to the poorer regions which are necessary if we are to attempt to iron out the major regional disparities in the Community. The ERDF is grossly inadequate. It was inadequate in the Community of Ten and it will be grossly inadequate to the needs of the Community of Twelve. Spain and Portugal have massive regional problems and I hope that as a result of their accession there will be a new approach to a regional policy because this will have very important implications for Ireland.

Many people have said they are worried that the ERDF grant aid to Spain and Portugal might only be possible by reducing the quotas available to Ireland and the other existing member countries. That will not happen. During the discussions on the 1986 budget in the European Parliament, we were assured that there will be no reduction in the allocations from the ERDF to Ireland or to the other existing members as a result of the accession of Spain and Portugal. While acknowledging the long and historic cultural links between Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula, it must be acknowledged that as a result of the accession of Spain and Portugal, our Government and other national Governments will have to take a new look at the whole question of European development policy. I have spoken at length about this on a number of occasions.

Debate adjourned.

Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.