HC Deb 23 June 1977 vol 933 cc547-9W
Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet other EEC leaders; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. Owen,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 15th June 1977; Vol. 933, c. 380–1], gave the following information:

I chaired a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 21st June.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State represented the United Kingdom. This was the last meeting of Foreign Ministers under the United Kingdom Presidency. By agreement with my colleagues the agenda was restricted to four major items on which we were able to hold broad-ranging political discussions. Detailed matters which had cluttered some of our previous agendas were dealt with in Committees and submitted to the Council for approval not for full discussion.

We reviewed the preparations for next week's European Council and agreed on the main items to be considered, although there is of course no formal agenda and Heads of Government are free to raise whatever subjects they wish. We expect discussion to continue on the subject of growth, inflation and employment which was a key item at the Rome European Council and on which Heads of Government will want to review the action taken in the Community since their last meeting. Heads of Government are also likely to have free-ranging discussion of a number of international subjects particularly relating to the Community's relations with the rest of the world.

The Council discussed the external aspects of the fisheries regime, including negotiations with a number of third countries and the arrangements for licensing third country fishing in the waters of member States. It was agreed to extend the existing Presidency licensing system for a further three months. This will enable the main aspects of the internal and external régime to be looked at together over the next three months, starting with a special fisheries Council next week.

We reviewed a number of questions related to the interests of Mediterranean producers, which are of importance for the Community's relations with other Mediterranean countries and for enlargement. This cleared the way for the next stage of discussion of agricultural questions in the negotiations with Greece.

The Council also looked at a range of interlinked problems of nuclear policy. It was agreed to study further the question of Community participation in the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation Programme. Discussions are to be continued with the IAEA on safeguards and renewed emphasise will be given to negotiations with Canada concerning the supply of Canadian nuclear materials.

In addition to these four agenda items Foreign Ministers looked at the Community's relations with Uganda in the light of the violations of human rights occurring there. We issued the following short statement. 1. The Council deplores the consistent denial of basic human rights to the people of Uganda. 2. The Council agrees to take steps within the framework of its relationship with Uganda under the Lomé Convention to ensure that any assistance given by the Community to Uganda does not in any way have as its effect a reinforcement or prolongation of the denial of basic human rights to its people.