HC Deb 28 October 1980 vol 991 cc239-41W
Mr. Spearing

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to make a statement concerning the outcome of the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Economic Community of 15 and 16 September.

Sir Ian Gilmour

I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle) on 27 October.

Mr. Squire

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

Sir Ian Gilmour

At present seven meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for November. There may also be an Energy Council. The usual written forecast was deposited in the House on 27 October.

The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 10/11 November to discuss post-1980 arrangements for New Zealand butter, proposals for a post-1981 sugar regulation and proposals concerning agricultural structures.

The Finance Council is expected to meet on 17 November to consider the Commission's third quarterly review of the economic situation in the Community. Ministers will also review progress on setting up the European monetary fund and following the discussion at the October Finance Council, will consider draft amendments to the regulations establishing the Community loan mechanism to assist the Community in meeting the problem of oil-related balance of payments deficits among its own members. They may also discuss a Community position on the exports credits consensus.

The Fisheries Council is expected to meet on 17/18 November to discuss outstanding aspects of a common fisheries policy including quotas, access, structures, enforcement and marketing.

The Development Council is expected to meet on 18 November to conduct a general debate on the Community's attitude to a range of North/South issues including the Brandt Report and proposals for a summit conference and global negotiations on international development issues. Ministers may also discuss the problems of world hunger and food aid; aid to non-associated developing countries and the reciprocal implications of the Community's foreign and development co-operation policies with particular reference to sugar.

The Budget Council is expected to meet on 24 November to consider the European Parliament's proposals to change provisions entered into the draft community budget for 1981 by the September Budget Council.

The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 24/25 November and is expected to discuss preparations for the next European Council on 1/2 December. Ministers may also discuss proposals for the enlargement of the European Court of Justice relations with Japan; external steel arrangements for 1981 and Commission proposals for social measures on restructuring of the Community steel industry; the Community's attitude to next year's global negotiations on international development issues: revised arrangements for the Community's generalised scheme of preferences for 1981 and trade arrangements with Cyprus to apply from 1981 onwards. There may also be meetings, in the margins of the Council, with Spain to pursue the accession negotiations and with Tunisia on the EC/Tunisia cooperation agreement.

The Labour and Social Affairs Council is expected to meet on 27 November to continue discussion of proposals to extend the scope of the Community social security regulations to include the self-employed and the insured non-employed and of the proposed payment of family benefits for migrant workers whose children live outside the member State responsible for paying the benefits. Ministers are also expected to discuss a possible two year interim extension to the current poverty programme, aid from the European social fund to shipbuilding workers and the eighth report on the activities of the European social fund.

If an Energy Council is held, it will probably discuss possible measures to mitigate short term oil supply problems; a report by the Commission on its bilateral discussions with member States on national investment programmes and the scope for Community financial support; a Commission paper examining long term coal production and demand prospects in the Community; a proposal to increase

1979–80 (£million) Percentage
Service of the National Debt:
Interest 8,291 78
Management and expenses 109 1
Total 8,400 79
Loans (net of repayments):
To Nationalised Industries 644 6
To Other Public Corporations 821 74
To Local and Harbour Authorities 762 7
To Private Sector −4* Nil
Within Central Government 60 ½
Total loans 2,283 21
Total payments 10,683 100
* Minus figure indicates net repayment.