HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc571-2W
Mr. Jim Lester

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.

Mr. Hurd

No meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for August and at present seven meetings of the Council are scheduled for September and October. The usual written forecast was deposited in the House on 27 July.

The Foreign Affairs Council is due to meet on 20 and 21 September and 25 and 26 October, when it is expected to discuss the latest developments in Community relations with the United States of America and with Japan and preparations for the GATT ministerial meeting.

In addition, at the September Council, Ministers are likely to discuss the new European regional development fund regulation and preparations for their meeting with Spanish Ministers, which is due to take place in October. Ministers may consider Commission proposals for extra development aid intended to help with the problem of hunger in the world. In the margins of the Council, Ministers are expected to have discussions with Portuguese Ministers on matters related to Portuguese accession to the Community.

In October, the Council is due to discuss preparations for its meeting in November with Portuguese Ministers, the renewal of the Community's trade regime with Malta and a report by the Commission on negotiations with low-cost supplier countries on future restraint arrangements for textiles. Ministers will also consider the Community's policy towards its Mediterranean partners and its position on participation in the Law of the Sea Convention. The Council may discuss the problem of the United Kingdom contribution to the Community budget for 1983 and later, and there may also be further discussions on European Community aid to Central America, on the basis of new proposals expected from the Commission. In the margins of the Council, there will be a meeting with Spanish Ministers on matters related to Spanish accession to the Community.

The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 20–21 September and 18–19 October and may consider New Zealand butter exports to the Community, Mediterranean agriculture, the welfare of hens in battery cages and long-term food contracts with North African suppliers.

The Fisheries Council is now expected to meet on 20 and 21 September and 4 October to continue discussion of the common fisheries policy.

The Finance Council is expected to meet on 18 October to continue discussion on the need to promote investment. Ministers may also discuss the outcome of the IMF annual meeting in September and continue discussion on the draft seventh company law directive on harmonisation of consolidated accounts.