Britain's negotiator to the European Economic Community, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon, had two meetings with Common?
Britain's negotiator to the European Economic Community, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon, had two meetings with Common Market Ministers today (Tuesday) as talks on Britain's third application for membership entered a crucial stage.
The British Government hopes the current round of talks, due to be followed on May 20 by a summit meeting between Prime Minister Heath and President Pompidou of France, will clear the final obstacles to British membership of the Community.
Three key issues, the future of Commonwealth sugar, the rate of Britain's contribution to the Community budget, and the position of New Zealand dairy produce, are being discussed in the present round of talks.
Mr. Rippon made an optimistic statement as he left the morning round of talks, but French Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann, current president of the Community's Council of Ministers, was reported to have said the talks were not going too well.
Later, Mr. Rippon had another meeting with the Ministers, at which he apparently pleaded with them to give more specific undertakings on the sugar issue.
The sugar issue which dominated tonight's discussion involves the future of a string of small countries ranging from the Caribbean through the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. For some, like Mauritius, Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga, sugar is almost their only exportable commodity.