HC Deb 04 November 1993 vol 231 cc304-7W
Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community's Council of Ministers, 1993–94.

Mr. Heathcoat Amory

The following meetings are planned:

  • 5 November: Culture Council
  • 8 November: Education Council
  • 8–9 November: Foreign Affairs Council
  • 11 November: Internal Market Council
  • 15 November: Budget Council
  • 16–17 November: Agriculture Council
  • 18 November: Industry Council
  • 19 November: Consumer Council 22 November: ECOFIN Council
  • 22 November: Fisheries Council
  • 23 November: Social Affairs Council
  • 29–30 November: Transport Council
  • 29–30 November: Justice Council

The following subjects are likely to be discussed:

(a) Culture Council—5 November

  • European City of Culture
  • The economic aspects of culture and its role in creating employment
  • Fixed book price and status of the artist: report by presidency on the informal meeting of Ministers
  • Centenary of the cinema
  • Evaluation of the media programme
  • Information from the presidency on the Mons seminar of audio-visual Ministers followed by an exchange of views on the audio-visual sector and the GATT negotiations

(b) Education Council/Meeting of Education Ministers—8 November

  • Student mobility and access to higher education in the Community (9324/93)
  • Green Paper on European dimension in education (COM(93)457 Final)

(c) Foreign Affairs Council—8–9 November

  • Follow-up to 29 October European Council
  • Access to information
  • EP committees of inquiry
  • Access negotiations: preparation of ministerial negotiating sessions
  • Relations with Turkey: agreement on Community position for association council
  • Stability Pact
  • Ex-Yugoslavia
  • South Africa
  • Trade policy questions
  • Uruguay round
  • Trade policy instruments
  • Relations with Switzerland
  • Austria: state aid (possible)
  • Relation with Russia: revision of negotiating mandate for partnership agreement
  • Relation with Bulgaria: conclusion of interim agreement Relations with Morocco: negotiating mandate
  • Relations with Israel: negotiating mandate (possible)

(d) Internal Market Council—11 November

  • Operation of the internal market (possible)
  • Data protection (possible)
  • Equipment for use in explosive atmospheres (possible) Personal protective equipment (possible)
  • Motor cycle type approval directives (possible)
  • Trans-European networks: declarations of European interest (possible)
  • Directive 83/189 on technical standards and regulations (10898/92) (possible)
  • Resolution on small and medium-sized enterprises
  • European company statute (possible)

(e) Budget Council—15 November

  • 1994 draft budget

(f) Agriculture Council—16–17 November

  • Agenda unavailable

(g) Industry Council—18 November

  • Steel Restructuring
  • Possible decision on article 95 ECSC steel state aid cases ECSC funding
  • Competition policy: annual competition report Commission presentation
  • General follow-up to resolutions—aeronautics, automobiles, textiles and IT
  • SPRINT—strategic programme for innovation and technology transfer

(g) Consumer Council—19 November

  • Timeshare directive—possible common position
  • Distance selling directive—orientation debate
  • Commission consumer action plan
  • Amendment to directive 79/112/EEC on food labellingTransparency of cross-frontier payments
  • Green Paper on access to justice (possible)
  • Green Paper on guarantees and after-sales service

(h) ECOFIN Council—22 November

  • Preparation of the Brussels European Council (possible)
  • EMU secondary legislation:
    • consideration of EP opinions
    • establishment of common positions on privileged access and monetary financing
  • Commission White Paper on growth, competitiveness and employment
  • Broad guidelines of economic policy
  • Community participation in the European investment fund (4382/93 COM(93)3)
  • Relations with central and eastern Europe
  • BCCI directive (8365/93 COM(93)363)
  • UCITS (4901/93 COM(93)37)
  • 7th VAT directive (possible)

(i) Fisheries Council-22 November

  • Agenda unavailable

(j) Labour and Social Affairs Council—23 November

  • Agenda unavailable

(k) Transport Council—29–30 November

  • Proposal for a "CARE" road safety data base
  • Council conclusions on the Commission's road safety communication
  • Transport to and from Greece
  • Presentation of proposals on railway licensing and access to the network (possible)
  • Relations with Switzerland
  • Road haulage external relations mandate (possible)
  • Inland waterways "Tour de Role" (possible)
  • Presentation of proposal on transport of dangerous goods (possible)
  • Air accidents investigation (plus possible follow-up to 27 September "Aviation Crisis" meeting)
  • Training for seafarers
  • Classification societies
  • Relations with west Africa

(1) Justice Council—29–30 November

  • Various immigration/asylum items
  • Extraction
  • Europol and other TREVI items
  • EC accession to ECHR

The Cultural Affairs Council will meet on 5 November. Discussions will be on the European City of Culture and the economic aspects of culture and its role in creating employment. There will be a report by the Presidency on the informal meeting of Ministers on fixed book price and status of the artist. Ministers will discuss the centenary of the cinema and carry out an evaluation of the media programme. There will be information from the presidency on the Mons seminar of audio-visual Ministers followed by an exchange of views on the audio-visual sector and the GATT negotiations.

The Education Council will meet on 8 November. There will be discussions and an exchange of views on student mobility and access to higher education in the Community, and on the Green Paper on the European dimension in education.

There will be a Foreign Affairs Council on 8 and 9 November. The Council will discuss a Commission paper on the development of trade relations in a number of sectors with Switzerland, following its decision not to participate in the European economic area. Subject to the progress of talks with Austria, the Council may be asked to approve Commission proposals for action against state aids granted by Austria to two industrial projects. The FAC will discuss the lifting of some of the remaining sanctions imposed by the EC on South Africa. The Council will also consider the policy to be adopted towards South Africa between now and the establishment of a democratic government there, including a contribution to monitoring of the first full elections there next year. The Council will consider further the proposed pact on stability in Europe, and proposals to amend the current negotiating directives of an EC/Russia partnership and co-operation agreement. The Council will discuss conclusion of the EC/Bulgaria interim agreement. The agreement is intended to give early effect to those provisions of the EC/Bulgaria association agreement—signed 8 March 1993—that fall within the sole competence of the Community.

The Internal Market Council will meet on 11 November. Discussions will be on TENS and the resolution on small and medium-sized enterprises. Also listed on the agenda for possible discussion is: operation of the internal market; data protection equipment for use in explosive atmospheres; personal protective equipment; technical standards and regulations and European company statute.

The Budget Council will meet on 15 November to consider the European Parliament's proposed amendments and modifications to the draft budget of the European Community for 1994.

The Industry Council will meet on 18 November. The Council will be dominated by a discussion of the Spanish, Italian and German applications for aid for their steel industries under article 95 ECSC. Commissioner van Miert will give his annual report on competition matters.

At the Consumer Affairs Council of 19 November, the Commission will give a presentation on its consumer action plan. It is possible that a common position on the timeshare directive will be reached at this Council. Issues to be discussed will be duration of cooling-off period, provisions for the protection of prohibition of deposit moneys, and provisions for purchasers to withdraw from timeshare contracts without penalty. Applicable law issues may also be discussed. As for the distance selling directive, it is not clear whether the original Council intention to have an orientation debate on policy issues arising from the latest text of the directive—submitted to Council on 13 October—will be carried over to 19 November. It may settle for a report on progress. The United Kingdom also wishes to discuss proposed ban on prepayment, and provision for cancellation of credit card transactions.

The Economic and Finance Council will meet on 22 November. It is expected to consider preparation for the Brussels European Council discussion on economic issues; the question of Community participation in the European investment fund; the directive to make changes to existing EC financial services legislation in response to the collapse of Bank of Credit and Commerce International and the Maxwell affair; the amending directive on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS); and possibly Community financial assistance to central and eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. The Council may also consider a report from the Commission on progress with economic convergence and implementation of the single market legislation.

The Fisheries Council will meet on 22 November. The agenda is not yet available.

The Social Affairs Council will meet on 23 November. The agenda is not yet available.

The Transport Council will meet on 19/30 November. Ministers will discuss the proposal for a "CARE" road safety data base and the Council conclusions on the Commission's road safety communication. Transport to and from Greece, relations with Switzerland, training for seafarers, classification societies and relations with west Africa will be discussed. There will possibly be a presentation of proposals on railway licensing and access to the network, and discussion on road haulage external relations mandate, inland waterways "Tour de Role" and air accidents investigation. There may also be a presentation of the proposal on transport of dangerous goods.