HL Deb 12 February 1990 vol 515 cc1238-9WA
Lord Campbell of Alloway

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council on 5th February.

Lord Reay

The Foreign Affairs Council met in Brussels on 5th February. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and my noble friend the Minister for Trade represented the United Kingdom.

Following their informal discussions in Dublin on 20th January, Ministers had a preliminary discussion of the prospects for extending the Community's relations with, and assistance to, the countries of Eastern Europe. Preliminary suggestions from the Commission closely reflect UK ideas, which we put to partners before the Strasbourg European Council. The Commission also presented its proposals for the creation of a European Training Foundation and a mobility scheme for students (TEMPUS). These fulfil the mandate from the Strasbourg European Council to extend training assistance to the countries of Eastern Europe. The Council separately agreed on the importance of the forthcoming CSCE Economic Conference in Bonn as an opportunity to monitor and encourage the development of market economies in Eastern Europe, and considered a Commission proposal for a draft concluding document of the Conference.

Ministers issued a statement welcoming the reforms announced by President de Klerk of South Africa on 2nd February. They looked forward to their early implementation, and hoped for further measures leading to the complete abolition of apartheid. The statement noted that, to the degree that dialogue is instituted in South Africa, the Twelve will be prepared to reconsider their position in respect of sanctions in accordance with the European Council declaration at Strasbourg on 9th December. They agreed to discuss developments in South Africa on this basis at the next meeting on European Political Co-operation issues, which will be in Dublin on 20th February.

The Council discussed the future regime for imports of Japanese cars, and will revert to the issue in March. The Council expressed its support for the Commission's Opinion on Turkey's EC membership application and asked the Commission to draw up detailed proposals for strengthening EC/Turkey relations within the context of the Association Agreement.

The Council discussed a Commission outline paper on a new Mediterranean policy and asked the Commission to produce detailed proposals taking into account the full range of views expressed at the meeting. The UK argued for a differentiated approach to individual Mediterranean countries, and in favour of measures to promote trade.

The Council noted with approval the EC's acceptance at the January GATT Council of the GATT panel report on the EC's oilseeds regime. Ministers discussed possible solutions to the hormones dispute and invited the Commission to put forward further proposals for discussion at official level.

The Council took note of the Commission's proposals for assistance to Colombia's Special Co-operation Programme and agreed on the importance of supporting the government of Colombia in their courageous efforts to combat the drugs problem.

Ministers reviewed preparations for the Inter-Governmental Conference on Economic and Monetary Union.