HL Deb 04 February 1976 vol 367 cc1294-5

"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 February. The monthly forecast for February was deposited yesterday.

"At present five meetings of the Council of Ministers are proposed for February. Foreign Ministers will meet on 9–10; Agriculture Ministers on 16 and 17 and possibly 18, and on 23–24; Finance Ministers on 16 and Research Ministers on 24 February although the date has yet to be confirmed. An Energy Council may be held before the end of February.

"At the Foreign Affairs Council Ministers will consider the work put in hand following the Conference on International Economic Co-operation. Minister will also consider tropical products in the context of the multilateral trade negotiations; external lending of the European Investment Bank; the Commission's formal opinion on Greek accession and the Community's relations with Spain, Ministers are expected to approve the agreements recently negotiated with the Maghreb countries. Direct Elections may also be on the agenda, but there is not expected to be any substantive discussion.

"Agriculture Ministers will continue their discussions on CAP prices for 1976–77 and on measures for improving the Community wine market.

"Finance Ministers will resume discussion of the joint Community borrowing scheme and may also discuss Euratom loans for nuclear power stations.

"At the Research Council, Ministers will consider proposals for a five-year Community research programme in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion and plasma physics including the Joint European Torus (JET). They will also have before them proposed indirect action programmes on environmental research and development and biology and health protection.

"If Energy Ministers meet in February it is expected that they will discuss the proposals which the European Council on 1–2 December 1975 asked the Commission to prepare. These cover mechanisms to protect existing supplies and development of alternative sources of energy; also the encouragement of energy conservation."

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