HC Deb 05 April 1976 vol 909 cc32-4W
Dr. Edmund Marshall

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the European Council meeting held in Luxembourg on 1st and 2nd April.

The Prime Minister

The Heads of Government of EEC countries held a meeting of the European Council in Luxembourg on 1st and 2nd April. As usual, there was no formal agenda or communiqué. We discussed the economic and monetary situation, noting growing signs of recovery in industrial production.

We agreed on the need for each member State to maintain a proper discipline over budgetary expenditure, incomes policy and money supply in order to continue successfully the fight against inflation and to reduce unemployment. Finance Ministers were invited to study further some of the papers which were placed before the meeting. My right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and I stressed the importance of the Community analysing the future trend of unemployment and taking action to complement that of member Governments in tackling this problem. The institutions of the Community, notably the Finance Council, were invited to take the study of the problem and its possible solutions further, with the help of the trades unions and the employers.

We also discussed plans for direct elections to the European Assembly, particularly the size of the Assembly and the distribution of seats. Some progress was made on minor issues, but no agreement was reached on the main question. Foreign Ministers were, therefore, asked to do further work on the subject and to report back in July.

They were also asked to study the Tindemans Report on European Union and to report back in November.

Heads of Government also discussed a number of international questions. The European Council issued an important declaration on Rhodesia, calling for a rapid and peaceful transition to majority rule and expressing vigorous support for the objectives laid down by Her Majesty's Government in my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's statement of 22nd March. The Council also issued a statement welcoming the entry into force of the Lomé Convention on 1st April.

Finally, the European Council issued a statement honouring M. Jean Monnet on his retirement, and reflecting his outstanding contribution to the creation of the European Community.

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