HC Deb 23 June 1977 vol 933 cc509-10W
Mr. Wrigglesworth

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) in Luxembourg on 20th and 21st June.

Mr. Silkin

The main issues at this Council, the last agricultural Council of the United Kingdom Presidency, were agri-monetary questions, wine and the labelling of milk products. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary represented the United Kingdom.

The Council discussed the Commission's proposal that regulation 974/71 should be amended so that a lower price could be taken into consideration for the calculation of monetary compensatory amounts. This is intended to avoid distortions of trade within particular sectors. The Commission made clear that it would intend at present to use this power only within denned limits and for certain products, including pigmeat. My hon. Friend welcomed this clarification and the Commission's further consideration of the possible use of the European unit of account in the calculation of monetary compensatory amounts. He again stressed that a reduction in the inequitably calculated monetary compensatory amount of pigmeat would be justified. Some member States considered that the proposed amendment should be looked at again when the Commission's revised proposals on the reduction of agri-monetary differences in the longer term come forward by 1st October. The Council will therefore reconsider it at a later meeting.

In order to meet United Kingdom needs, there have been substantial changes in the draft regulation on the marketing and labelling of milk products since it was first considered by the Council earlier this year. My hon. Friend made clear at this Council, however, that we would not agree to the present proposal on the labelling of ice cream. The draft regulation will now be re-examined with a view to further consideration of it at the next Council.

Some amendments of the basic wine regulation, intended to keep a reasonably balanced market, were agreed but further action may be needed later this year.

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