HC Deb 28 July 1983 vol 46 cc565-7W
Mr. Cyril D. Townsend

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. Malcolm Rifkind

On present plans there is to be one meeting of the Council of Ministers in August, three are due in September and seven, possibly eight, in October. The usual written forecast was deposited in the House earlier today.

The Special Council set up following the Stuttgart European Council is expected to meet on 30 August, 20–21 September and 10–13 October to discuss the subjects covered by the Stuttgart declaration, including the future financing of the Community and the control of agricultural expenditure.

The Foreign Affairs Council is due to meet on 19–20 September and 17–18 October. At its meeting in September the Council is likely to discuss the Community's position on special steel in the light of consultations with the United States, and Community trade with Japan. It will continue its discussion of a new regional development fund regulation and consider the outstanding points of the Commission's mandate for the negotiation of a successor to the Lomé convention and proposals for a second financial protocol to the European Community-Malta association agreement. Ministers will also review the progress of the negotiations on Greenland's application to withdraw from the Community.

In October the Council is likely again to discuss European Community-United States steel, trade with Japan and the proposed new regional development fund regulation. Other items likely to be discussed are the Commission's proposals for the Community's 1984 generalised scheme of preferences and proposals for progress towards customs union between the Community and Cyprus. Ministers may be asked to consider progress made on the Commission's proposals for integrated Mediterranean programmes. They will also prepare the Community's position for the ministerial conference with Spain which is due to take place in the margins of the Council.

The Agriculture Council is due to meet on 26–27 September and 17–18 October. In September it is expected to consider follow-up measures arising from the Stuttgart European council, the reform of the agricultural arrangements for Mediterranean produce, including fruit and vegetables and olive oil, and the reform of the processed fruit and vegetable regime. Follow-up action to Stuttgart is also likely to be on the agenda of the October meeting when other items for consideration will probably be New Zealand butter quotas, the beef premium system — following a Commission report on the various premium schemes — and possibly the import under GATT of frozen beef from third countries.

The Industry Council is expected to meet on 3 October to discuss any outstanding business on steel. It may also consider telecommunications.

The Fisheries Council is next expected to meet on 3–4 October to discuss 1983 total allowable catches and quotas.

A General Affairs (Internal Market) Council may take place in early October when a number of proposals for the easing of formalities at the Community's internal frontiers and possibly Community certification for imports from third countries would be discussed.

The Finance Council is due to meet on 24 October to review the co-ordination of the Community's financial instruments. Ministers are also expected to consider European monetary system interest rate subsidies, tax and financial measures in favour of investment, and the promotion of the financial integration of the Community.

The Research Council is expected to meet on 26 October. The topics likely to be discussed are the joint research centre programme, the European strategic programme of research and development in information technology, non-nuclear research and development, biomolecular engineering and structures and procedures.

(£ thousand)
European Community Rest of World
Imports cif Exports fob Imports cif Exports fob
Frozen vegetables:
1970 1,537 383 4,418 562
1977 8,156 9,223 21,797 4,369
1982 47,080 12,912 18,644 7,585
1983 (January to May) 17,672 4,743 4,654 3,440
Frozen fruit:
1970 232 130 754 112
1977 1,601 2,197 3,375 417
1982 3,956 3,939 4,105 585
1983 (January to May) 1,675 574 1,711 55

Source: Data corresponding to SITC(R2) Items 054.61, 058.61 and 62, and 098.09 (part) in the United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics, and equivalent headings under SITC (R1).


(a) the European Community is defined in accordance with currrent membership,

(b) figures for frozen vegetables include maize from 1977 onwards, but exclude it in 1970 when trade in frozen maize was not separately identified,

(c) the remaining information requested is net available.