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European Community (Council Of Agriculture Ministers)

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 14 February 1980

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14.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, if he will make a statement concerning the likely business at the forthcoming meeting of EEC Agriculture Ministers on 18 and 19 February.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on 31 January about the main subjects that might be discussed by Ministers of the European Community during February.

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman did not give a list of the business. Will he confirm that one of the items to be discussed will be the CAP price proposals for 1980–81? In view of the fact that the disposal of surplus milk products on the world market is likely to cost the Common Market about £3,000 million in the current year, and bearing in mind our contribution to that, does he not think that we should withhold our contribution to that scandalous total?

Will the Minister convey to his EEC counterparts the official decision of the National Farmers Union, printed in The Times yesterday, that Britain should withdraw from the EEC's common agricultural policy?

As far as I know, certain individuals put that point of view, and the president of the National Farmers Union repudiated it.

Will the Minister, when he meets his colleagues, convey to them the view that, despite the unthinking nationalism that appears to grip many hon. Members, the solutions to the problems of the agricultural community in Europe do not lie along the path of recrimination and reprisal?

Yes, Sir, I agree with that. Nor do the solutions run along the path of perpetuating current errors.