Skip to main content

European Community (Council Of Ministers)

Volume 933: debated on Monday 20 June 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what plans he has to attend future meetings of the European Communities Council of Ministers.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the proposal to require ice cream to be designated as edible ice is bizarre and fatuous even by the generous standards of the European Commission? Will he indicate by what means he intends that those in Brussels should be made aware of this view?

The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question is "Yes". That view has already been made plain to the Commission. I have accompanied my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to Council meetings of the Agriculture Ministers and there is no doubt in the minds of members of the Council as to where the British Government stand on this issue.

As the Minister has attended Council meetings with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, will he explain why the Government agreed to a tax on isoglucose when, in the week before, the House had voted against precisely that thing?

The package as a whole must be considered, and major changes—most notably the payment by the Community of a subsidy on butter worth 10p per pound—were agreed as a result of the strong representations that were made about the importance of bearing in mind the consumer interest in the price settlement. The isoglucose levy was unwelcome, but it must be judged as part of an overall package.

Will my hon. Friend confirm whether it is in the interests of the policy of detente that the EEC is flogging mountains of beef and other foodstuffs and lakes of wine to the Soviet Union at knock-down prices at the expense of the British consumer?

Detente is not a consideration in the minds of Agriculture Ministers attending the Council.