§ Mrs. Currie
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will report the outcome of the latest meeting of the European Community's Council of Finance Ministers.
§ Mr. Gow
The ECOFIN Council met in Luxembourg on 28 October. I represented the United Kingdom.
The Council has preliminary discussions on the Commission's annual economic report and the recent Greek economic measures. Lord Cockfield put forward the Commission's views on indirect tax harmonisation. The Council agreed to return to these matters at its next meeting, on 18 November.
The Council discussed the proposal in the Commission's amending letter of 11 October to increase the 1986 budget provision for the United Kingdom's 1986 VAT abatement under the Fontainebleau system by 264 mecu (some £155 million). The Council agreed that the United Kingdon was entitled to receive this additional sum during 1986. The Commission was invited to bring forward an amending budget in September 1986, which would take account of the 264 mecu and of any other 496W corrections indicated by the latest budgetary information, and the Council undertook to take the necessary decisions on the basis of the Commission's proposal.
I proposed that the Community should take an early opportunity to consider how the financial guideline limiting agricultural spending should be applied to the Community of Twelve. The Commission undertook to prepare a communication to the Council about this.
Finally, considerable progress was made in the Council's discussion on liberalising the marketing of unit trusts throughout the Community. Subject to a waiting reserve by Denmark, the Council agreed the texts of co-ordination and capital movements directives establishing common rules for unit trusts and other undertakings for collective investment in financial securities (UCITS). These directives are intended to take effect from October 1989.