HC Deb 22 June 1994 vol 245 cc181-3W
Mr. Streeter

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 in Luxembourg on 13 and 14 June.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

I attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 13 and 14 June in Luxembourg.

The presidency briefed the Council on its plans for the European Council in Corfu on 24 and 25 June. Growth, competitiveness and unemployment would be the lead items. Other subjects would include the next President of the Commission, Mediterranean issues, aspects of the common foreign and security policy and a formal decision to set up the 1996 study group as agreed in March at the informal Foreign Ministers' meeting in Ioannina.

President Delors presented a progress report on follow-up action on the White Paper on growth, competitiveness and employment. There was a general discussion on issues that would be raised under this item at Corfu.

The Council discussed relations with Ukraine, in particular proposals for assistance in the fields of nuclear safety and agriculture.

The EC and its member states and Ukraine also signed a partnership and co-operation agreement, with President Kravchuk signing for Ukraine. In addition, the Council approved a negotiating mandate for an EC/Ukraine interim agreement on trade matters.

The Council agreed that the EC-Russia partnership and co-operation agreement could be signed in Corfu, subject to Russian confirmation of the lifting of certain restrictions on the operations of European Union banks in Russia.

The Council welcomed the ad referendum agreement by both the Muslim and Croat Mostar delegations to the memorandum of understanding defining the role of the European Union administrator who would shortly take over the administration of the city. The Council also discussed how best to develop its relationship with Croatia, and to encourage continued Croatian co-operation with the peace process.

The European Union observer for Cyprus reported to the Council on recent developments in the United Nation's efforts towards implementation of the Secretary-General's package of confidence-building measures. The Council noted that, in spite of the unhelpful Turkish Cypriot attitude until recently, a last effort was being made to secure agreement, and that the United Nations Secretary-General would be reporting to the Security Council again soon. The Council agreed to continue to monitor the situation and to discuss it again at Corfu.

The Council agreed mandates for the negotiation of new financial protocols with Cyprus and Malta.

The Commission presented a paper on the EU-Mercosur relationship. After discussion, it agreed to produce a further paper on options for developing this relationship. The issue will be discussed further under the German presidency.

Ministers agreed to extend the common foreign and security policy joint action on the stability pact to cover the follow-up to the Paris launch conference. The documents agreed at the Paris conference will be transmitted to Corfu.

The Council noted a paper outlining the options available for financing costs arising from common foreign and security policy actions. It was agreed that these should be discussed with the incoming European Parliament and that further work should be undertaken on specific procedures.

The Council discussed a presidency compromise package designed to secure agreement to a regulation to create a common Community regime of export controls on dual use goods. The package was agreed by 10 member states including the United Kingdom but Denmark and Belgium asked for a little more time to reach a final decision.

The Council discussed a proposal to amend the existing regulation on outward processing trade—OPT—in textiles. The subject was referred for further work by experts, pending discussion at the July FAC. A number of delegations, including the United Kingdom, called for the Commission to make a separate proposal establishing duty exemption for OPT conducted with the countries of central and eastern Europe.

The Council appoved the imposition of a definitive anti-dumping duty on large aluminium electrolytic capacitors from South Korea and Taiwan. The United Kingdom made a statement opposing this proposal, expressing doubts about the injury case and concern for the effects of such high duties on users.

The Council agreed on a mandate for the Community to participate in negotiations on a convention to combat desertification, recommended by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

A co-operation council with Israel was held in the margins, attended by Mr. Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister.

Because of shortage of time, the presidency deleted from the agenda the items dealing with aid to banana growers in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, shipbuilding, access to documents and other business, including imports from China. These will be taken at a future Council.

No votes were taken during the Council.

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