HC Deb 11 December 1987 vol 124 c291W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Council of Agriculture Ministers' meeting on 10 December in Brussels; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. MacGregor: The Council of Agriculture Ministers met in Brussels on 10 December. Among the matters discussed was a proposal for certain areas of the Netherlands, France and Greece to be recognised as officially free from classical swine fever. I agreed to this only after careful study of the evidence on the disease status of the areas concerned, and after seeking and receiving firm and specific assurances from each of the three countries that they are applying rigorous controls to ensure that this status will be maintained, and that they would take effective and immediate action in the event of any outbreak.

The Council formally adopted the regulation on distribution of free food from intervention stocks. I am now considering its implications in close consultation with the main charitable organisations. The Council agreed on the allocation between member states of the GATT quota for frozen beef, and on quotas for high quality beef and buffalo meat, for 1988. These quotas can therefore be opened promptly, to the benefit of the trade. A new system of classification for rice was also agreed.

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