HL Deb 27 March 1979 vol 399 cc1467-8

My Lords, a Statement is being made in another place today about business to be taken in the EEC Council of Ministers during April. I shall, as usual with the leave of the House, arrange for this 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 main business to be taken by Ministers of the European Community during April. The more detailed written forecast was deposited yesterday. At present five meetings of the Council of Ministers are proposed for April. A oint Foreign Affairs and Finance Council will meet on the 2nd and will consider two Commission discussion papers, first Financing the Community Budget—The Way Ahead and secondly A Global Appraisal of the Budgetary Problems of the Community. The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on the 2nd and 3rd and will discuss the relaunching of the EEC/Turkey Association Agreement; relations with Yugoslavia; and preparations for UNCTAD V. Ministers will also review the position reached in the GATT Multilateral Trade Negotiations and will discuss negotiations with China for an agreement over trade in textiles. The Council will prepare for the next and possibly final meeting at ministerial level of the Greek accession negotiations, which will take place immediately after the Council, and will again consider revised Commission proposals concerning specific aids given by member States to the Steel Industry. The Environment Council will meet on the 9th for a general exchange of views on environment policy which is expected to include discussion of Commission papers on waste management, clean technologies, guidelines for the assessment of the possible impact on the environment of any proposed building or construction work, and European Conventions on the quality of life. The Agriculture Council will meet on the 9th and 10th to continue discussion of the 1979/80 CAP price proposals. A Finance (or special Fiscal) Council may meet on the 23rd to resume discussion of interest rate subsidies to be paid to the less prosperous members of the EMS exchange rate mechanism, and may also consider the harmonisation of excise duty on alcoholic beverages and the three draft Directives concerned with VAT.