HL Deb 24 March 1976 vol 369 cc640-2

2.54 p.m.


My Lords, a Statement is being made in another place today about the business to be taken in the European Economic Community Council of Ministers during April. As usual, I will arrange for the Statement to be made available in the Official Report.

Following is the Statement referred to: With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a Statement about the business to be taken in the Council of Ministers of the European Community during April. The monthly forecast for April was deposited yesterday. The Heads of Government of the Member States will meet in Luxembourg on 1st and 2nd April. There is no formal agenda for these meetings, but on this occasion the Tindemans report on European Union, Direct Elections to the European Assembly and unemployment in the Community are among the subjects likely to be discussed. At present five meetings of the Council of Ministers are proposed for April. Foreign and Finance Ministers will meet together on 5th; Foreign Ministers on 6th; Agriculture Ministers on 5th and 6th; Development Ministers possibly on 5th; and Social Affairs Ministers possibly on 29th April. There will be an informal meeting of Finance Ministers on 26th April. Ministers at the joint Foreign and Finance Council will consider the external financial commitments of the Community and will undertake an overall review of Community budgetary questions. At the Foreign Affairs Council Ministers are likely to discuss the outcome of the European Council to be held on 1st and 2nd April. They may also consider the problems nosed by the creation of a 200-mile fishery limit; passport union; progress of the work in the four Commissions set up following the Conference on International Economic Co-operation; relations with Portugal, the CMEA, Greece and Iran, and tropical products in the context of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Ministers will have before them the arrangements for the signature of agreements with the Maghreb and will review progress in the negotiations with Spain. Agriculture Ministers will discuss amended arrangements for beef imports, provisions for sugar imports from ACP countries during 1976–77, the exclusive use of butterfat and milk proteins in dairy products and a number of proposed measures for improving agricultural structures. Ministers at the Development Council are likely to consider development co-operation issues arising in the discussions of the Conference on International Economic Co-operation. They may also discuss the estimated trends for gross Community aid payments to the Third World financed from the Community budget or by Member States; the implementation of the resolution on the harmonisation and co-ordination of development co-operation policies within the Community; Community financial and technical aid to non-associated developing countries; possible Community participation in the International Fund for agricultural development, food aid following the World Food Conference and relations between the European Communities and non-governmental organisations specialising in development co-operation. The informal meeting of Finance Ministers will discuss unemployment. Social Affairs Ministers will have an exchange of views in preparation for the World Employment Conference, and will also consider the employment situation in the Community.