Thursday, 2 July 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Harte: I commence my contribution by congratulating Mr. Jacques Delors on his reappointment as President of the EC. The European Community could not have a better man at the helm; he is very committed and fair-minded. I believe that individual Irish citizens or groups should be satisfied at having a person of the calibre of Mr. Delors at the Head of the Community.
Having listened to the Taoiseach and read what he had to say I must confess to having mixed feelings. For example, I am a little disappointed he did not spell out in simple language and in great detail what the Lisbon Summit has to offer Ireland. For instance, what do the Cohesion and Structural Funds mean to the Irish people? Many people will be asking this question. I am at a loss to inform people because I do not know precisely what is the position. I would urge the Taoiseach to clarify this position as quickly as possible since there has been too much speculation to date about the Cohesion and Structural Funds. I hope the Taoiseach will avail of the earliest opportunity to say precisely what is the position of the Government and what are the benefits to this country.
 I welcome the Taoiseach's remarks on the progress made towards the implementation of the Single Market on 1 January 1993. I should have liked the Taoiseach to have developed his thinking on what this will mean for Ireland. My view is it will be good for Ireland. Throughout my political life, even before I entered politics, living in a Border county, born 100 yards from the Border, between Donegal and Tyrone, I and the people of the community in which I grew up always could see the evils, not of political partition but of the economic border between North and South whose roots go back to the economic war of the thirties fought madly by the late Éamon de Valera, former President and Taoiseach. There may have been arguments in favour of it but the price of economic war in this country, not only in economic terms but in divisions between our people, is incalculable. I should like the Government to clarify the position vis-à-vis the Single Market. I welcome with open arms anything which affords open market between the North and the South of Ireland.
I would ask the House to ponder for a few moments the type of Ireland in which we in Border counties have been living. For example, somebody living in Cork can conduct business with somebody living in, say, Kerry without any obstruction whatever. But Governments in this House who preached anti-partition followed economic policies which interfered with natural trading and marketing between neighbours on both sides of the Border. That must be inconsistent with the real thinking on Irish unity in that there must be economic unity in Ireland before political unity. This was something Fianna Fáil seemed unable to understand. They were blind to the fact that one had to proceed first, along the path towards economic union and free trade. I notice the Minister of State, Deputy Treacy, shaking his head——
Mr. Harte: I do not criticise the Minister of State because had I been born in and grown up in Galway, I would not know exactly what it was a Deputy representing a Border constituency was talking about. I appreciate that and do not say so lightly but I grew up in a Border county. I know how difficult it was for people on both sides of the Border to have to avoid Customs officers if they wanted to do business with each other, not because they wanted to be dishonest or to smuggle but because it was a convenient, natural thing for them to do so. The Minister of State's Party, by fighting an economic war — and neither he nor any present Member of his Party was responsible for it — put a Border in economic terms between North and South. With the benefit of hindsight, they can see what that did to communities on both sides of the Border.
I welcome the Single Market with open arms. It will allow business people on both sides of the Border to trade, uninterrupted with each other and, as they do business with each other, they will get to know each other and push away the political fears that at present divide them.  So far as I am concerned, that is the excitement of being in Europe; that is the excitement I foresee for the generation coming after me. If I have any regrets in public life, it is that I am not beginning rather than having spent 30 years participating.
Ireland's future is in Europe. When I talk about the future of Ireland I am talking about a new society in Ireland, free of bitterness, hatred, dissension, murder and all of the things we detest. Europe has come to our rescue. People who oppose Europe and membership of the EC should stop and ask themselves what it is they are opposing. Are they opposing an opportunity to do away with the evil things we detest in Irish society?
In the course of his statement the Taoiseach mentioned political co-operation. Again I was somewhat disappointed he did not develop his thinking on this matter. I hope he will do so at the earliest possible opportunity. What does political co-operation within Europe mean for Ireland? Most people think it is about co-operating with the German, French and Italian armies. It is not; in kitchen sink, village pump politics, it means most of all our co-operating politically with people on the other side of the Border and with Great Britain. Where does Britain stand in the matter of political co-operation? Britain was a signatory to the Maastricht agreement and has taken part in the most recent Lisbon Summit. Now that Britain is about to take over the EC presidency, what will Mr. John Major do about political co-operation in Northern Ireland? For far too long the British Government have been saying to the world: we are there as a peackeeping force. On a world stage, in many ways, that is a very convincing argument but the people who look at it very closely, must ask if the British have really been keeping the peace there. With the sincerity and determination that people like me would wish? For far too long Great  Britain adopted a non-neutral position. Now, having examined its policy on the Northern problem, Westminster has taken up a neutral position. I think the British Government now realise that the only way to establish peace on the island of Ireland is for them to adopt a neutral stance.
The political co-operation between Ireland and Great Britain that is the result of European union is completely new to us. Irish people now have an opportunity to sit down as equals with Great Britain and co-operate on all fronts but especially on the question of establishing peace and normality between the two traditions in the North which seem to be unable to devise political structures by which they can govern themselves. I welcome Prime Minister John Major's initiative during Great Britain's Presidency of the European Community to use the opportunity to work out structures that will bring peace in Ireland faster than we could do ourselves.
What does political co-operation mean to the Republic and Northern Ireland? Does it mean that we must help the two communities in the North to find their own level and that once they have found their own level we must co-operate with whatever they ask us to do? That is a problem we must face eyeball to eyeball. We must look on people on the opposite side of the political spectrum in the North, as equals, as fellow Irishmen and try to bring peace between the two communities.
What does political co-operation mean to the two communities in the North who have representatives in the European Parliament? If there is a commitment on the part of the two communities in Northern Ireland they must recognise that the Maastricht Treaty and the conference just ended in Lisbon is very much about political co-operation. We must sit down and work out what it is we must co-operate politically on. Otherwise the whole thing is a sham.
On the question of political co-operation, let me ask the House and the Government what does that mean to the people of Lifford and Strabane who now  have to tolerate the structures that are being called “checkpoint Paddy”. Monstrosities are being constructed along the Northern side of the Border which are frightening. I say that not to be emotive but as someone who is trying to understand what the British are at on the Northern side of the Border. These compounds that the British Government are building from Muff in County Donegal across to Carlingford Lough in County Down are in no way a contribution to peace and normality in Northern Ireland; they are physical evidence of the lack of understanding on the part of the British Government of what is happening in Ireland. These “checkpoint Paddys” will not prevent the violence which is happening in Belfast or in Britain and which will continue to happen.
If the British Government are signatories to the Maastricht Treaty and if they believe in political co-operation, then let them listen to the voice of reason from moderate people in this House who say that their policies are wrong and that there is no need whatever for the structures they are now building between the North and the South of Ireland. When I go across the Border from Lifford to Strabane and see these frightening structures, that says to me that the people of Strábane and the people of Lifford are enemies, that they do not trust each other and that these compounds are being built to protect one community against the other. How ridiculous can one get? It is insulting to the people, whether Catholic or Protestant, nationalist or unionist. The average person who crosses the Border is decent and law-abiding. The bombs or ammunition or instruments of warfare that the British Government may have collected have not been seized at normal cross-Border checkpoints or approved roads. There is no sense in building these compounds. They are annoying many people and I object in the strongest possible terms.
The Taoiseach spoke in great detail about combating drug trafficking, and I welcome that decision with open arms. There must be co-operation between all  of the world's police forces. I know there is great co-operation between the police forces in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Garda Síochána and the European police and I welcome that.
In the discussion on the Maastricht Treaty on European Union we have lost sight of the fact that in 1950 under the Schuman Plan, Germany and France pooled their resources in the interests of economic recovery, particularly in the context of the coal and steel industries, to prevent those two countries from going to war again. Both Germany and France suffered in two World Wars in the first half of this century and within one year the message got through to Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg, countries which also suffered from two major wars, and they joined in the European Coal and Steel Community which would act as a bulwark aainst the threat of communism in Eastern Europe. That was the beginning of the Common Market. People have forgotten the thinking of Schuman which was later so well developed by Adenauer and General de Gaulle.
Mr. Roche: While I might disagree with Deputy Harte on some of his interpretations of economic history, it is interesting that the last thought which he aired was in fact one of the first thoughts I was going to pick up on. Of course, he is quite right. Ireland's recent referendum result was a triumph of logic over hysteria. The Lisbon Summit followed along the same lines. After the Danish referendum the major European institutions showed a degree of hysterical reaction which, to say the least, shook the confidence of even the hardiest proponents of closer European economic integration.
Our own referendum campaign was marked and marred by hysteria. A positive shoal of red herrings was introduced into that debate and issues which we could and should have discussed were not discussed. We focused on the negative rather than the positive. The post-referendum analysis seems, to me at least, to focus on the claims which were made  by the Pro-Life Movement. Let us not lose sight of the fact that there were others involved in the negative campaign, the “No” campaign, the destructive campaign, the campaign which would deny the opportunity to Irish men and women on both sides of the Border to unite in a common Europe. Those other negative campaigners also had claims and those claims, too, left their mark. That is why I welcome the statement that was made by the Taoiseach here because it certainly seemed to me to put to rest some of the ghosts raised in recent campaigns.
Let us not forget we had posters claiming that the fall-out from the Maastricht Treaty would be nuclear. We had a claim that a “Yes” vote would cut social welfare. We had a claim that a “Yes” vote would mean that judges would be travel agents, particularly for women. We had a claim that a “Yes” vote would mean conscription.
All of these claims were false. They were false when they were made and the tragic thing about it is that political leaders, people who claim status in the political regime of Ireland, made these claims knowing they were false, knowing tha they were nothing to do with the Maastricht Treaty, and knowing that, if anything, they were the exact antithesis of what European Union is all about.
The benefit which will come from the Lisbon Summit is that it will help to steady nerves not just here but throughout Europe. In Ireland, it will help to refocus public debate on Europe, the real issues relating to Europe, the development of European Union and the philosophical notions which are at the core of European Union and turn us away from the ghosts which were conjured up during the campaign, particularly those conjured up by the extreme Left in their latest disguise.
I compliment the Taoiseach on his report to the House. He dealt in a clear and business-like manner with the achievements of the Summit. I am at a loss to understand the views of the last Fine Gael speaker. To my mind, the Taoiseach's speech was one of the clearest we have had on the results of any  summit. For example, it was noteworthy for its total lack of jargon and the fact that it dealt in clear, business-like and unambiguous language with core issues.
Deputy Harte seems to have a rather bizarre view of the economic effects of partition. I accept that his viewpoint is closer to the tragedy of partition than mine. I was fortunate not to be raised in a Border area, but I am familiar with the economic consequences of borders and that is why I am a very firm advocate of European union, as is——
One of the main arguments I put forward for a “Yes” vote in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty was that a “No” vote would represent a renewal of economic partition on this island. That is a matter of fact.
Mr. Roche: No doubt Deputy Harte is sincere when he harps back to the economic war. However, the relevance of the economic war to the Lisbon Summit defeats me. The economic chaos in counties both North and South of the Border comes from an artificial and obscene border and work which was left undone. Of course, borders do not just exist on maps——
Europe offers Ireland a model now more than ever before. When Schuman and Monnet put together the blueprint  for the ECSC and their plan for a new Europe they were making a leap of the imagination; they were projecting themselves forward to a Europe which would not focus on the difference of the European nations but to a Europe which would celebrate the commonality of the European nations. They decided that Europe as a whole was far greater than the sum of all the parts. I agree with Deputy Harte that there is a lesson to be learned from that by every politician and public leader here.
Mr. Roche: They made a huge leap forward in Europe and made remarkable progress. The progress made within the first 18 months of the ECSC was startling beyond belief because brave political leaders made a leap of the imagination. At the time Schuman and Monnet were considering their plans the big political argument was the “pasturalisation” of Germany, the destruction of the industrial and economic heartland of Germany. However, there were wiser people there and they said that this would only lead to deprivation, depression and a downward spiral for all of Europe. Of course, their leap of the imagination was successful only because it was grasped on the far side of the border by Adenauer. Here again there is a parallel and a lesson for us.
The European leaders of the fifties could have focused on their grievances. If any nation had a grievance, France and Germany had — France lost two generations against German hostility and Germany lost all of its economic might and half of its national land. However, they put that sense of grievance behind them. They decided to focus on the things they could do and not on the issues they could not immediately solve. There is a parable, a parallel and a simile there for those on this island who at this time face each other across tables. It would be remarkable if in 1992 Irish political leaders — Unionist, Nationalist, Republican,  Socialist and so on — could make the same type of leap of the imagination.
As Deputy Harte rightly said, regardless of the side of the Border on which they live Irish people are sad, sick and sore at the results of division. Irish people on both sides of the Border have come to a consciousness when they look at Europe and see what can be done when people decide to submerge their differences and focus on the positives and things they can do when they come together.
Deputy Harte and I have had private conversations about this issue and we accept that there is a great tragedy on this island and that people have to make a huge leap; they have to break away from history and forget all the battles and things which went in the past. This is not to say that we should turn our minds on our culture and traditions. I am simply saying that people need to be practical and realise that they have to spend their time more in the future than in the past. European Union is important not just in terms of economic progress on this island but in terms of political progress on this island. The lessons learned from the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Luxembourg and, ultimately, the Maastricht Treaty, will have, in political terms, a major impact on this island.
In the few minutes remaining, I wish to refer to one or two issues dealt with more directly by the Taoiseach in his contribution. He referred to the issue of subsidiarity. It was interesting for any student of public administration or politics to see the issue of subsidiarity coming, as it did, to the forefront of the debate on the Maastricht Treaty not just here but in other European member states. This is interesting because the discussion on subsidiarity was a major issue in Ireland in the sixties when we started to talk about economic planning. At that time the view commonly put forward in academic journals and political debates in this House was that the principle of subsidiarity was important, should be developed and should be used as the borderline between the different levels of government in this State. The subsidiarity  principle will be increasingly important in the new Europe. I agree with the point made by Deputy Barry in this respect. I do not agree with much of what he said but I agree with the points he made about subsidiarity. It will not only be important to have subsidiarity between the boundaries of a nation, that is, between local and central Government, but it will be very important in the months ahead to establish a clear principle of subsidiarity which will apply between the member states of Europe and, in particular, between the growing power of the central institutions of the European Community and the member states.
It will be very important in the long term to establish a cohesion within Europe and political principles on which progress can be made. Subsidiarity is one of those principles; in fact, it is as important as issues such as the funds and what will happen in Denmark. We should explore the principle of subsidiarity and debate it in this House. I wish I had more time to deal with the Cohesion Fund. I compliment the Taoiseach on the points he made today about the Delors II package and the way it has been safeguarded in the Lisbon agreement. I also compliment him for addressing in a fair and forthright manner some of the hysterical reaction to the fact that we are at a very early stage of negotiation on this issue.
Mr. Kenny: These statements give us an opportunity to comment on the general political events surrounding the Lisbon Summit and the consequences of the Referendum on the Maastricht Treaty. The massive support shown here for the Treaty indicates the inherent trust Irish people have in their political leaders, because there is complete and utter confusion among the vast majority of the population about the workings of the European Community, its institutions, the direction in which it is heading in the decade ahead and this country's position in the Community in the closing years of this century. It is incumbent on the Government and on leaders in politics, industry and other areas of Irish  life to ensure that the people understand what is at stake in the formulation of the new European Union.
As a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Association, of which you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, are an esteemed co-chairman, it is obvious that the debates and meetings that have taken place have resulted in a breakdown of the barriers that existed for generations between Irish and British politicians. It is interesting to note that probably for the first time in the history of the State an elected British politician, at the last plenary session in Dublin Castle in the closing days of 1991, spoke in Irish about the continuing need for dialogue and discussion. That stage of the British-Irish Parliamentary Association has been a success, and hopefully it will continue to be so, in the context of breaking down the barriers of nationalism and isolationism that have existed for far too long in this country.
The Referendum on the Maastricht Treaty created all kinds of confusion. The details of the Lisbon Summit are not as well known by the people because the red herrings were not brought to the surface to the same extent. However, on the day after the Lisbon Summit the national newspapers gave credit to the Taoiseach for sorting out with his dear friend, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Major, a problem in regard to the Northern Ireland talks which apparently had been insurmountable prior to the Lisbon Summit. the perception appears to be that, of all the complex issues that must be dealt with before the end of this year, the Government want to present some juicy political meat to the Irish people in the event of their having to go to the country.
I welcome the fact that the meeting in London this week resulted in the commencement of Strand Two of the talks on Northern Ireland, although I am not sure what the Irish Government said to the Unionists, in particular, in regard to Articles 2 and 3 that seemed to send them away happy.
In my lifetime there has not been a war in western Europe, but the history of the  continental people over a thousand years indicates national and tribal rebellions on an ongoing basis. For the first time in the last 500 years, 50 years has passed without an outbreak of war. The generation of the fifties and succeeding years have not experienced a war in western Europe, as did their ancestors. As has been stressed by Deputy Harte and others, the fact that political leaders have set aside their nationalist tendancies has brought about unprecedented economic development, peace and prosperity, and the Lisbon Summit is another step in that direction. It is evident to business people and industrialists that those living in the Far East are committed, almost to the point of fanaticism, to development and economic prosperity. It is fundamental that this country be allowed play its full part in the overall development of the Community. As an island on the periphery of Europe, if we do not compete with people who know what the Community is about and can generate ideas for further development, we will fall further behind.
It is part of the Taoiseach's strategy to set the stage for the time when he will present his Government to the people, be that later this year or in 1993. It is interesting to note that many communities, organisations and townships have carried out great work in the last number of years in breaking down barriers, the promotion of their areas, the development of tourism and twinning, and the development of more harmonious relationships, particularly with Great Britain, which was, and still is to a great extent, our largest market. It is a sign of the Taoiseach's wish and that of his Government for continued wellbeing in the political arena at home that he constantly seeks consensus. Consensus is obviously very important in the context of critical political issues that have to be dealt with.
Until we can present ourselves on the stage of Europe as equals with all other member states, we will not have dispensed with the old ideas of nationalism. I will give one example. Last Sunday  week the Taoiseach was accorded an official civic reception in Westport at a reception, a festival for displaying the foods of Europe in the context of the promotion of tourism. The committee concerned engaged in long and anxious deliberations before agreeing, out of respect for the British flag, that it should not fly in the town square with the other flags of Europe. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice attended this official function at which, as a result of the actions of a small minority of people, the British flag did not fly. I am not suggesting that the committee involved would in any way show deliberate disrespect to either the British people or the British Government, but that happened.
I am not sure whether the Taoiseach is aware of it, but if in discussions with the British Prime Minister, Mr. Major, on the margins of a Summit in Lisbon he can sort out a blockage in ten minutes, and if the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Justice go to London and, on the sensitive issue of Strand Two of the talks on Northern Ireland, can convince Unionists that they should sit around a table with them, we should be in a position to have our Taoiseach, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and other public representatives or any Irish people say, “we respect you for what you are, as a member of the European Community and as such we are entitled to stand on the same stage as you and vice versa”. It is important to have an ongoing information campaign about how the Government see Ireland and its people playing their part in the new Europe. In 1985, 500 Irish people were in Munich and this year there are in the region of 5,000 most of whom are there by choice. Job opportunities may not be as great as people had hoped, but they are there. If we have the capacity to produce quality people we should be able to send them onto the European stage as equals, as promoters for all that is best in a peaceful modern Europe. It is in that context that I hope the Government continue to press the case for Ireland.
I do not agree with everything the Taoiseach said or with his method of presentation but it is important to bear  in mind that in a generation which has not seen war we have ratified the Maastricht Treaty and moved on to the Lisbon Summit. We brought our population with us to help them better themselves and our country in a prosperous and peaceful Europe.
Minister for Energy (Mr. Molloy): I would like to say at the outset that I hope this is one of the last occasions in which this House debates a European Summit in this manner. The recent referendum which saw such an overwhelming endorsement by the people of Ireland for the European ideal also demonstrated a keen appetite among the public for more information and more debate on Europe. The Progressive Democrats have long supported the establishment of a specialised committee to debate European Affairs and I hope that before another Summit takes place such a committee will be operating and that this House, and the wider public, will be better informed on the subject than we can be at present. I hope these matters can be resolved in a mature way between the various parties before we return after the summer recess.
I congratulate the Portuguese Government on the successful conclusion of their historic first period in the Presidency of the Community. As we know from our own experience no Presidency is ever easy and that has certainly been true over the past six months. The many successes which have been secured are due, in no small part, to the efforts of Portugal, and demonstrate once again the contribution which even its smallest member states can bring to the Community.
Inevitably, we first judge any Community Summit by its implications for us, but it would be naive to look no further than this. In many ways the real test for Community Summits is how they progress the wider Community agenda.
The Portuguese Presidency and the Lisbon Summit occurred at a crucial time for the EC which is now in the midst of a delicate transition between the Community as we have known it and the post-Maastricht  Union. In addition we are fast approaching the January 1993 deadline for the completion of the Single Market. The pressures for enlargement, for redistribution of existing funds towards poorer regions and the ongoing tragedy of the Yugoslavian conflict on our borders have combined to test the Community in an unprecedented way.
Judged in this context the Lisbon Summit represents a considerable success for the Community. If our concerns about the actual increases to be agreed in the Delors II package remain to be finalised, they are still all to be played for and the Summit has seen tangible progress in many other important areas.
The Progressive Democrats welcome the European Council's unequivocal determination to press ahead with European construction and fully support plans to enlarge the Community. Indeed, given the changes which are taking place in Europe plans for enlargement must proceed as quickly as possible. Much of the groundwork and informal preparations for such enlargement can commence now, but it is vital that any formal developments await the full ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, including the agreement of the Delors II package among the member states. Equally it must be the Community's aim to ensure that newcomers to the Twelve accept the full Union package rather than settling for some sort of half way house even for an intermediate period.
Obviously, there has been disappointment here at the failure of the Lisbon Summit to finally agree specific targets under Delors II. The reality, however, is that everything is still to be played for. The debate here has focused crudely on particular sums as if success or failure can be judged in pounds, shillings and pence. In reality, the Delors II package is about much more than mere balance sheets. A central aim of Community policy to date,  and a key element of the Maastricht Treaty, has been the promotion of cohesion and the narrowing of the wealth gap between member states. This is as important as an underlying philosophy of the Community as it is in purely financial terms as the Community develops into a real union of shared and common interests and prosperity.
The Progressive Democrats believe that the Council conclusions agreed at Maastricht again underline this philosophy and are important markers for future negotiations in this area. In particular we welcome the confirmation in the conclusions of the essential dimension of economic and social cohesion; the agreement to put in place the new Cohesion Fund in early 1993; confirmation of plans to reinforce other structural policies and the decision to decide various components of Delors II in Edinburgh. If we think back to the bitter arguments that were fought over the original Common Agricultural Policy reform plans and now see their eventual success, we have significant reason for optimism in the negotiations which will take place over the Delors II package.
One important development in this regard has been the decision to give equal treatment to five East German Lander and East Berlin as Objective 1 regions along with countries like ours. This inevitably means that any increased funds will now be shared among a larger group of countries and underlines the need for substantial increases in such funds. The progress of the Maastricht Treaty ratification process was, of course, central to the debates at Lisbon and this country should note with satisfaction the welcome given by the Heads of Government to the referendum result here, which reflects the growing stature of our country within the Community.
The Heads of Government at Lisbon demonstrated a keen interest and desire to learn from the lessons we have seen in the Europe-wide debates on the Maastricht Treaty and particularly in the referendum campaigns here and in Denmark. Those campaigns have brought home to the Heads of Government  the dangers of the Community becoming too removed from its citizens.
There is now a clear willingness to bring the Community ever closer to the public which is reflected in decisions to increase the transparency of Community decisions and to increase dialogue between national parliaments and the European Parliament which again underlines the need for this House to proceed with a specialised committee on European affairs.
Equally important has been the decision to move forward with the concept of subsidiarity and to give precise delineation of the type of Community action which can be carried out. We would do well to remember that subsidiarity is as relevant to internal matters here as to our relationship with Europe.
The last six months have also seen important progress being made on the implementation of the Internal Market. Over 90 per cent of the necessary measures for the completion of that market have now been adopted at Community level. There has, however, been a notable failure to yet agree proposals on the harmonisation of VAT/excise duties. This is now long overdue and is of vital interest to us.
Another important influence at Lisbon was the ongoing tragedy of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. If progress on almost every other front in the Community has shown its growing stature as a world economic power, the Community's virtual paralysis in the face of this tragedy reflects an impotency which must concern us all. The response at Lisbon — where progress has been made in identifying possible areas of joint action under the Common Foreign and Security Policy arrangements — is welcome, if only a starting point.
I do not believe that even those who are most stridently neutral can be satisfied to see the Community sit idly by while fellow Europeans are subject to the carnage and destruction which is taking place now on our very borders. If the Community is to develop as a pillar of security and stability in Europe it must find the means to match its undoubted  economic power with a political influence which can operate for the benefit of Europeans everywhere.
The Community remains at a crucial phase in its development and the challenges of the next six months will be as great as those we have faced to date. Central to these challenges will be the forthcoming referendum in France and the ability of the Community to come to terms with the difficulties raised by the Danish rejection of the Maastricht Treaty.
Throughout the recent referendum campaign, however, the Progressive Democrats stressed that the European Community represents a political movement and not just a legal arrangement. I believe that the present difficulties facing the Maastricht process will be overcome and that the Danish people will yet be embraced in a progressive and developing union.
In the Community on the energy side a number of issues are currently under discussion. Progress is being made on completing agreements under the European Energy Charter. Discussions are continuing on the draft directives on the completion of the internal market in electricity and gas, on harmonisation of licensing procedures and conditions for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons and on oil crisis measures and Community membership of the International Energy Agency. The question of an energy tax was discussed at the most recent Energy Council in May and we are awaiting proposals from the Commission on energy conservation under the SAVE programme and on the development of renewable energy under the ALTERNER programme. At home we are making progress towards interconnection for both the gas and electricity grids.
The European Charter, which was signed by me on behalf of Ireland in the Hague on 17 December 1991 is a declaration by the countries involved expressing a desire for Europe-wide co-operation in the energy sector. To date there is a total of 49 signatories to the Charter, consisting of 47 countries, the European Communities and the Inter-state  Economic Committee, representing the Confederation of Independent States of the former republics of the USSR.
The main objectives of the Charter are to improve security of energy supply, maximise energy efficiency, enhance safety and minimise environmental problems on an acceptable economic basis. The intention is to create a climate favourable to the operation of enterprise and to the flow of investment in technology by applying market-economy principles to the field of energy. The Charter itself is a political declaration without legally binding powers but it provides a frame work for a basic agreement and individual Protocols which will have legally binding effect.
The basic agreement is designed to cover horizontal and organisational issues of the Charter while the individual Protocols will cover specific sectors. Negotiations are, at present, in progress on the basic agreement and on protocols dealing with hydrocarbons, energy efficiency and nuclear safety.
While it had been hoped that the text of the basic agreement would be ready for signature by 30 June 1992, at the end of the Portuguese Presidency, it has been delayed due to various difficulties which have arisen during the negotiations. It is now the aim to have it ready for signing by the end of the year although it is possible that negotiations will, in fact, carry on into 1993. The Protocols will not be concluded until the basic agreement is finalised. In its efforts to complete the international market in gas and electricity the Commission has a three stage approach:
II. The creation of a transparent, non-discriminatory system of granting licences to build pipelines and for the production of natural gas; the separation of the management and accounting of production, transmission and distribution of operations, and the introduction of limited third party access.
I mentioned at the most recent Council of Energy Ministers in May that I would be very anxious to ensure that change from the present well established position would in fact bring benefits and that these benefits should not be at the expense of any group of consumers, nor bring about risks to security of supply in the short or longer term.
I added that a carefully graduated approval to third party access was not only possible but desirable and could be done in such a way that would avoid any possible threats to the financial stability of existing monopoly utilities. The details of this proposal will require careful consideration as the discussions progress.
At the May Council I agreed with other Energy Minister that the proposed tax on CO2 emissions should be conditional on other industrialised countries taking comparable measures. I expressed the view that while the Community had and should continue to lead the debate on proposed action in that area it could not and should not take unilateral action which could put it at a disadvantage.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): I wish to respond to a number of points raised in the course of the debate. Deputy De Rossa raised questions on the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). I can only conclude, with respect to the Deputy, that he has not read the report with sufficient care. The entire emphasis in this report is on supporting stability in Central and Eastern Europe, in Yugoslavia, in North Africa and in the Middle East, by encouraging negotiations, conflict resolution, disarmament, arms control and respect for international law. The Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe is given a particular prominent role in the section dealing with Europe. These are all aims that Ireland advocated in the preparation of the  report and they are in conformity with Ireland's foreign policy objectives.
What is more interesting, although more bizarre, is the Deputy's questioning of the objectives contained in the report of ensuring full compliance with treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms control, including those on nonproliferation, and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Is the Deputy saying the Community should not work for compliance with international treaties on disarmament? Surely compliance with the norms of international law must be the foundation of any effective foreign policy. This has always been Ireland's stance. We have a proud record in advocating the rule of law and the implementation of international treaties, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We will continue to work for these aims in all organisations of which we are a member, including the European Union. In my view the Deputy should welcome the emphasis given in the report to this aspect of the Community's foreign policy.
Deputy Barry asked about attendance at Western European Union meetings. Ireland has attended these meetings on three separate occassions as an observer. Two of these, one in the Hague on 19 September 1991 and the other in Brussels on 30 September 1991, considered the conflict in Yugoslavia and the steps the Western European Union might take to support the European Community's peace process including its monitor mission. In the event no such steps were taken. The Government's decision to attend as an observer was based on their desire to be fully informed of all developments that might have a bearing on the Community's peace process in Yugoslavia. The third meeting took place at the time of the Maastricht Council on 9 and 10 December 1991 at which the Western European Union discussed its future relations with the European Union and the invitation to be issued to members of the European Union to become members or observers of the Western European Union. This invitation is contained in a declaration by  the Western European Union which was noted by the inter-governmental conference.
Ireland was represented as an observer at all three meetings by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Collins. An ad hoc meeting at official level which prepared the draft of the Western European declaration and took place at the time the Maastricht Council meeting was taking place was attended by an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs, acting as an observer.
In regard to Deputy Barry's question about a Dáil debate if Ireland applies for membership of the Western European Union, I repeat what I have said already — Ireland does not intend to become a member of the Western European Union.
Deputy Connor remarked that the Conclusions made no reference to Moldavia. I would draw his attention to the first point of paragraph 5 of the Conclusions in which the European Council expressed its deep concern at the continued fighting in that country and strongly urged all the authorities concerned to end the vicious circle of violence by engaging in political dialogue and cooperating with all the peace efforts.
Deputy Harte mentioned what he described as monstrosities being erected on the British side of the Border. I assume he is referring to the permanent vehicle checkpoints. I do not disagree with the Deputy's views on the new checkpoints which have been erected by the British authorities. Having visited the Border areas, of course the Deputy has first-hand knowledge of the areas by virtue of his passage through them on a weekly basis. Having visited those Border areas, too, I agree that they seem strange manifestations of security if that is what they are intended to be. One can only wonder what their purpose is in the context of what we all seek to achieve— the defeat of the IRA in all its manifestations.
In relation to the generality of the debate I join with other Members who have indicated their support and appreciation of the Portuguese Presidency in the  past six months. My short involvement has been at the Council of Ministers under the Presidency of Dr. Joao de Deus Pinheiro and I would like to pay tribute to him for the manner in which he controlled matters and balanced the views of all the contributors. I would also like to pay tribute to him for the fair-handed and even-mannered way in which he handled all the proceedings under his Presidency. He was a good President and it was a good Presidency.
On the question of the French President's courageous initiative in visiting Sarajevo, I had already considered, as I expressed to my officials, that a gesture of that kind—I did not anticipate President Mitterrand's taking the decision he took —was what was required to bring an end to the savagery which is continuing in Sarajevo and the former Yugoslavia. I salute President Mitterrand's courageous initiative in visiting Sarajevo. It was an imaginative step that falls fully within the parameters of EC policy. It brought hope to the suffering indigenous population. The Bosnian Serb leadership made contact with President Mitterrand after his conversations with President Izetbegovic.
The European Council examined the grave situation in South Africa in the aftermath of the Boipatong massacre. The European Council noted the stated readiness of the South African Government to allow foreign observers to participate in the investigation underway and underlined the absolute need to ensure an effective control of the police and security forces. The Ministerial Troika of the Community and its member states will address this issue on its forthcoming visit to South Africa. Ireland was part of the process in suggesting this particular type of visit by the Troika and it was accepted by the Portuguese Presidency at the Summit in Lisbon last week.
Throughout the Presidency and the Commission, the EC has been present as an observer at the CODESA negotiations. These enjoy the full support of the Community as a means towards a truly democratic and non-racial South Africa, in the first place through the  establishment of a transitional Government. Following the Boipatong incident and previous events of a similar character, the CODESA process — for reasons which this House will readily understand —is under strain. The European Community will now be looking at what steps might be taken to help all the parties resume negotiations.
The European Council shared the widely-held view that the election results in Israel will help reinforce the peace process. At the same time, it reiterated a number of principles which have retained their validity ever since the first major European Council Declaration on the Middle East in Venice in 1980.
Of fundamental importance, if an agreement is to prove just and lasting, is the principle of land for peace enshrined in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The European Council also looked forward to immediate action by the Israeli authorities to halt the building and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law, and to apply in full the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The constructive involvement of the European Community in the Middle East peace process on the basis of these positions of principle will be a factor for bringing the sides together. It will also serve to reassure both Israel and her Arab neighbours that they have everything to gain if peace can at long last take root in their region. Another issue which should be addressed in concluding my remarks, which will be brief of necessity, having regard to the amount of time available, is the enlargement of the Community and of the European Union and that will be one of the main preoccupations of Europe over the next few years.
Ireland takes an open and positive view of enlargement. The EEC Treaty and the  Treaty on European Union permit any European state to seek membership. To date seven have applied — Turkey, Austria, Cyprus, Malta, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland. It is likely that Norway may also seek membership by the end of the year and applications may also be made in the near future by countries in Eastern Europe.
Against this background it was important that the European Council should have a detailed debate on the issues involved in enlargement. The Commission set out its views in a paper which was circulated during our meeting and which is attached to the conclusions circulated to the House.
The European Council in Maastricht in December agreed that accession negotiations could start on the basis of the new Treaty on European Union as soon as negotiations on the Delors Plan are completed.
It is a very important point in this particular area that the negotiations could start on the basis of the new Treaty on European Union as soon as negotiations on the Delors Plan are completed, then and only then can this particular process conclude. In Lisbon we restated this requirement and agreed to ask the institutions to speed up preparatory work on the mandates for the accession negotiations. The Taoiseach made this clear on a number of occasions. In this regard and without sounding sycophantic, I would like to pay tribute to the Taoiseach's contribution at the Lisbon Conference, at times he had support and on other occasions he was left out on his own, but he fought well and hard and, I think, successfully to keep the negotiation process on the road towards a proper conclusion at the Summit in Edinburgh.
The Delors plan will provide the framework for the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty and the financing of Community policies well into the latter half of this decade. It is essential that the plan be in place before negotiations start so that there can be a clear understanding by our future partners of the shape of the Community's long term agenda. In  Lisbon we reaffirmed the Maastricht agreement on this point.
The Lisbon meeting also confirmed the conclusions of the Foreign Ministers in Oslo on 4 June regarding the Maastricht Treaty in the light of the Danish referendum. It was agreed in Oslo that there would be no renegotiation of the Treaty and that all of the other member states would go ahead with their ratification procedures, as we are doing in Ireland, while leaving the door open to Denmark.
Again, it is reasonable that accession negotiations should start after the European Union has been formally established and a clear path has been established for its development. Thus, the decision of the Irish people on 18 June has important implications, not just within the Community but also for the African countries.
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