§ Lord Mottistone
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What was the outcome of the Council of Agriculture Ministers' meeting held on 26–27 March; and if they will make a statement.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead): My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture and his honourable friend the Minister of State represented the United Kingdom at the meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers on 26–27 March.
The Commission had adopted the main elements of the presidency compromise texts from the previous meeting, and discussion concentrated on those issues still outstanding. In particular, the Council had further discussions on the arrangements relating to MCA dismantlements; on the Irish problem in relation to the implementation of the milk supplementary levy; and on our reserves relating to continuation of the Beef Variable Premium Scheme and to the proposals on sheepmeat. The Council also discussed a number of other issues raised particularly by the Italian and Greek Ministers.
No decisions were taken. The Council is due to resume its discussions on Friday afternoon with the aim of taking decisions before the new marketing years for certain commodities begin in April.