HL Deb 22 October 1987 vol 489 cc305-6WA
Baroness Carnegy of Lour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the Council of Agriculture Minister's meeting on 19th to 20th October in Luxembourg, and whether they will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)

The Council considered further the Commission's proposals for the important and necessary changes in the support arrangements—the so-called "stabilisers"—to bring costs under much better control. After a discussion on general principles at the September Council this Council meeting began the task of considering the proposals for individual commodities in specific terms. My right honourable friend (the Minister) made it clear that, for the stabilisers to be effective, it was essential to take decisions on details and not just on framework mechanisms in advance of the December meeting of the European Council, and my right honourable friend (the Minister) emphasised to his agricultural colleagues the urgency of their reaching agreement on this.

The Council had a first debate on related Commission proposals for income aids to mitigate the effect of stricter price policy for farmers with relatively low income. Most member states, including ourselves, had substantial reservations on the present proposals.

Finally the Council achieved a reconciliation with the European Parliament on the details of a regulation which will change the system whereby the Commission reimburses member states for EAGGF expenditure, from monthly advances to payments in arrears. This change will strengthen control over Community expenditure and help to contain 1987 expenditure within the budget provision.