Thursday, 3 February 1983
Dáil Eireann Debate
As Deputies will be aware the Government are required under section 5 of the European Communities Act, 1972, to report twice yearly to each House of the Oireachtas on developments in the European Communities. We are today discussing the 17th to 20th Reports which cover the period from July 1980 to June 1982.
As the House knows, Senator Dooge has already introduced the 17th and 18th Reports to this House. Accordingly, in my introduction to this debate I will confine myself to giving a synopsis of the period covered by the two latest reports, that is, July 1981 to June 1982. I shall, of course, on the conclusion of this debate, be happy to respond to queries raised by Deputies on any of the reports before the House today.
The twelve months covered by the 19th and 20th Reports were exceptionally difficult and even depressing for the Community and its individual member states. The challenges presented by the world economic crisis, by the growing spectre of widespread unemployment, especially youth unemployment, by inflation and by balance of payments difficulties, were posing serious problems everywhere. It was not a particularly auspicious time, therefore, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome — apart from the wider economic context, the actual development of the common market was at a standstill. Yet it has been at times of crisis, and worse, that in the past European countries found the courage, the commitment and the political idealism to reach out beyond their parochial and protectionist concerns and  build on their individual and collective strength and experience.
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