15 MARCH 1975, Page 3

Dublin, summit

Hopeful sounds were to be expected from the members of the Labour Government's team negotiating Britain's EEC membership terms in Dublin. The EEC budget, and the problem of New Zealand lamb, together with the last-minute anxieties on the control of mergers and investment in the steel industry, were on the agenda. Hopeful sounds will continue and should continue to come from British politicians and diplomats right up to and beyond any decision in the referendum for Britain to Withdraw from the European Community. Even the most ardent opponent of Britain's membership of the EEC would not wish anything to be said during the coming weeks that would make the work of the Foreign Office more difficult when the ultimate job of negotiating bilateral arrangements with the remaining partners in .Europe comes to be conducted if the British people should decide, through the referendum, against staying in. The fact that the Foreign Office certainly, and the Foreign Secretary probably, are in favour of staying in is for tactical reasons welcome. It will allow future negotiations to be conducted by men who privately claim that they were only taken kicking and struggling out of the Community, and Who thus should secure a more sympathetic reaction to their new proposals.