HC Deb 25 April 1989 vol 151 cc461-2W
Mr. Greg Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 24 April.

Mrs. Chalker

The Foreign Affairs Council met in Luxembourg on 24 April. I represented the United Kingdom.

The Council agreed on the continuing need for a coherent and carefully differentiated policy towards the countries of eastern Europe.

With the regard to Romania, the Council agree on the suspension of negotiations for a trade and co-operation agreement. Their resumption would require clear evidence of a significant improvement in Romania's respect for human rights, and observance of its CSCE obligations. The United Kingdom strongly endorsed this unequivocal message of serious Community concern at the situation in Romania.

The Council also noted encouraging developments in the situation in Poland, and agreed that the Community should adopt a more flexible position in current negotiations for a trade and co-operation agreement. The United Kingdom strongly supports a positive Community approach to Poland, reflecting progress in the implementation of Polish economic and political reforms.

The Council also received reports on preliminary Commission discussions with the Soviet Union on a trade and co-operation agreement, and with the Gulf Co-operation Council on a second stage agreement.

Noting the concerns of some member states on textiles, the Council generally welcomed the results of the mid-term review of the Uruguay round, completed in Geneva earlier this month, which laid the foundations for substantive negotiations for the remainder of the round. The Council also noted progress in negotiations with the United Kingdom on the dispute over the EC's directive banning meat from animals reared with hormones.

An EC/Morocco Co-operation Council was held in the margins of the Council meeting.