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European Community Finance Council

Volume 978: debated on Friday 15 February 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Economic Community Finance Council in Brussels on 11 February.

:The EEC Finance Council met in Brussels under Italian presidency on 11 February.

The Council had a brief exchange of views on the latest Commission communication of 5 February 1980 entitled "Convergence and Budgetary Questions", in which I re-emphasised the need for an adequate and lasting solution to the United Kingdom's net contribution problem. I welcomed the demonstration in the Commission's communication that the Community should have no difficulty in finding a way of implementing such a solution. The president concluded by inviting delegates to consider the communication further with a view to resuming discussion at a later stage.

As requested by the European Council last December, the Council examined the financial implications of the package of economy measures which had been proposed by the Commission as a means of curbing the growth of expenditure on the common agricultural policy. The Council endorsed the need for economies of the order proposed by the Commission but, at my insistence, made it clear that the overall objective of these proposals could be secured only if the Community adopted a prudent policy for agricultural support prices. There will be another discussion of this issue in the Finance Council following further technical exchanges at official level.

The Council also discussed the latest developments in the economic situation in the Community and a proposal for an increase in the minimum interest rates which apply under the guidelines for officially supported export credits.