§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What was the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Councils on 29th July, 6th and 30th September, respectively.
The Earl of Caithness
The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 29th July. The council agreed to provide 50,000 tonnes of food aid to Albania and asked the Commission to produce an opinion on the Swedish application to join the European Community. The council also reviewed progress in the negotiations on a European economic area and on the Uruguay Round. Ministers issued statements on the Middle East peace progress and on Burma. They agreed that the troika of Foreign Ministers should return to Yugoslavia to seek agreement on a ceasefire:
At the Foreign Affairs Council on 6th September, the United Kingdom was represented by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The council discussed the association agreement negotiations with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia but were unable to reach agreement on a revised negotiating mandate for the Commission. Ministers met their counterparts from the Baltic states and issued a statement stressing the willingness of the Community and member states to establish diplomatic relations with them. Ministers also discussed the latest developments in Yugoslavia and agreed to convene a peace conference on 7th September.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Minister for Trade, and the Parliametary Secretary at the Ministry 121WA of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 30th September and 1st October. The council agreed the Commission's negotiating mandate for the Association Agreement negotiations with Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The council also agreed to send a further 50,000 tonnes of food aid to Albania sourced from Eastern Europe under the triangular purchasing arrangements. The council asked the Commission to begin exploratory talks with the three Baltic states on trade and co-operation agreements. It also agreed to include these countries and Albania in the Community's PHARE programme and the generalised system of preferences. The council asked the Commission to begin exploratory talks with Bulgaria on an association agreement.
The council agreed on the importance of a co-ordinated western response to the recent Soviet request for food aid on the basis of a full assessment of need, burden-sharing, and conditionality. It amended the regulation on a credit guarantee for the Soviet Union to permit purchases from eastern and central European countries.
The council reviewed progress in the negotiations on a European economic area. It identified three main areas—fish, the EFTA cohesion fund and alpine transit—which needed further work before the joint EC/EFTA ministerial meeting on 21st October. The council agreed the Commission's negotiating mandate for the free trade agreement negotiations with the Gulf Co-operation Council. Ministers reviewed the situation in Yugoslavia. They held an association council with Turkey in the margins of the meeting. They also discussed the EC role in a Middle East peace conference and the modalities of the appointment of a Commission representative in the occupied territories.