§ Mr. Neubert
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the meeting of the European Community Council of Labour and Social Affairs Ministers which he attended on 10 December.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I represented the Government at a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Labour and Social Affairs) in Brussels on 10 December.
The Council agreed a decision which prolonged the life of the existing European social fund until such time as the current review of the fund is completed. The council also stressed the importance which it attached to the rapid completion of the review.
Subject to the views of the European Parliament and the European Community's Economic and Social Committee the Council agreed a resolution on vocational training and new technology. A recommendation on flexible retirement was also adopted.
The Council also discussed the draft directive on protection of workers from the risks of exposure to asbestos. Although the Council was agreed on a number of key issues, it was not possible to reach complete agreement. I did, however, stress the positive steps that have already been taken by the United Kingdom in this area and urged the Council to conclude its work on the directive as soon as possible.
Other subjects discussed were the draft directive on part-time and temporary work.