HC Deb 18 December 1979 vol 976 cc173-4W
Mr. Bright

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the EEC Council of Ministers.

Sir Ian Gilmour

At present four meetings of the Council of Ministers are proposed for January 1980. The usual written forecast was deposited in the House on Monday 17 December.

The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 14 and 15 January and is expected to consider Commission proposals on the United Kingdom budget contribution in preparation for further discussion and decision at an early meeting of the European Council. Ministers are also expected to discuss progress on the report of the Three Wise Men on Community institutions; the United Kingdom share in the non-quota section of the European regional development fund; developments in the North/South dialogue between developed and developing countries; progress on enlargement with Greece, Portugal and Spain; relations with Turkey; a review of the treaty with Israel; trade with Cyprus; textile negotiations with Bolivia and Egypt and Community imports of synthetic textiles from the United States. In addition, the Council may resume discussion of the Community's anti-crisis measures for steel in 1980; aid to shipbuilding (scrap and build) and the co-ordination of training and mutual recognition of qualifications of midwives.

The Finance Council will meet on 21 January and may discuss further matters from the November European Council on budgetary problems. The Council is also expected to discuss the co-ordination of economic policies of member States.

The Agriculture Council will meet on 21 and 22 January and is expected to discuss changes in the CAP to help balance the markets and streamline expenditure; aspects of policy regarding agricultural structures; access to the market for New Zealand butter post 1980 and the common organisation of the markets in sheep meat, alcohol and potatoes. Ministers are also expected to have a preliminary exchange of views on the Commission's proposals for CAP prices for 1980–81.

The Fisheries Council is expected to meet towards the end of January to consider formal proposals for the adoption of TACs—total allowable catches—for 1980 and the introduction of a catch reporting system. The Council is also expected to give further consideration to the introduction of comprehensive conservation measures and to discuss framework agreements and fishing arrangements with third countries in 1980.