HL Deb 05 November 1974 vol 354 cc282-4

3.58 p.m.


My Lords, with the leave of the House may I say that a Statement was made yesterday in another place about business to be taken in the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community during November. It has been agreed through the usual channels that it would be helpful to this House if the monthly Statements of Business in the Council of Ministers were available to your Lordships in the OFFICE REPORT, and I will arrange, with the leave of the House, for this to be done. I shall hope to obtain the leave of the House in future months to make similar arrangements. May I also say a word about refreshments. The Peers grill room will be open this evening as usual, and tomorrow dinners will also be available.

The Statement referred to is as follows: With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a statement about business to be taken in the Council of Ministers of the European Community during November. Written forecasts for September and October were deposited at the beginning of each month in the normal way. The monthly written forecast for November was deposited on 1st November. At present seven meetings of the Council of Ministers are proposed for November. Environment Ministers will meet on the 7th; Foreign Ministers on the 12th and the 13th; Finance Ministers on the 18th; Agriculture Ministers on the 18th and the 19th; Justice Ministers on the 26th; Budget Ministers on the 28th; and Development Ministers on a date yet to be set. The Foreign Ministers' Council will discuss the report which they asked the Commission to make in response to the Foreign Secretary's statement of 4th June about the impact of the Community Budget on the United Kingdom. They will also consider the Community's generalised scheme of preferences for 1975, the regime governing commercial relations with State-trading countries in 1975 and relations with Canada. The council will also examine progress in the negotiations for a convention of association under Protocol 22 of the Treaty of Accession, including the arrangements for imports of sugar from certain developing, mainly Commonwealth, countries. The Finance Ministers, in addition to their usual monthly discussions of the economic situation in the Community, are expected to give further consideration to the proposed joint Community borrowing scheme and possible financial assistance to Italy. The Budget Council will consider the European Assembly's observations on the Community's draft budget for 1975. The agenda for the Agriculture Ministers' meeting is still to be prepared, but the Council is likely to continue consideration of the future Community sugar beet regime, and arrangements for sugar imports under Protocol 22; and to discuss proposals to increase import prices of New Zealand butter and cheese under provisions of Protocol 18 of the Treaty of Accession. Development Ministers will discuss future commission proposals for the overall framework of future Community development policy. The Environment Ministers will discuss proposals to implement part of the environment action programme. The Council and Conference of EEC Ministers of Justice will take stock of the work on company law, the mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments, the recognition of the status of companies and other legal persons, the assimilation of private international law rules, the strengthening of co-operation in taking legal action following infringement of Community economic law and the liability of E.E.C. officials in respect of criminal law.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Baroness, the Chief Whip, for her Statement and for including this very important and long Statement in the OFFICE REPORT and undertaking to do this in future. However, may I ask her whether it would be possible, through the usual channels and in consultation with another place, to have these Statements made not on Mondays when this House may not be sitting, but at a time when this House is sitting, because yesterday there were no less than eight columns of questions put to the Minister concerned and I suspect that many of your Lordships would equally like to put questions. Secondly, may I ask the Chief Whip whether there will be a monthly Statement of Future Business?


My Lords, as the noble Baroness knows too well, another place is its own master. We shall make the usual kind of representations and have the usual kind of friendly response, and I shall do my best to do everything that will enable your Lordships' House to have as free and good a discussion as possible.


My Lords, can we get something better than the usual friendly response?