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Council Of Foreign Ministers

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 8 May 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign affairs Council held on 5 and 6 May.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Trade and I represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 5 and 6 May.The Council discussed the follow-up to the meeting of the European Council in Luxembourg on 28 and 29 April and completed the preparation of the Community's position for the forthcoming meeting of the EC/ACP Council of Ministers in Nairobi on 8 and 9 May.There was an exchange of views on the procedure to be followed on the United Kingdom's budget contribution and related issues. There was no substantial discussion of the level of our contribution. It was agreed that the matter would be taken up again at the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers on 17 May. The Italian Presidency emphasised that it wanted to find a solution by the end of the month.The Council approved proposals for the Community's offer to Turkey of improvements in the EC/Turkey association agreement. The improvements concern aid, migrant labour and terms of trade. The offer will now be put to Turkey with a view to holding shortly a meeting of the Association Council to conclude the negotiations.Ministers examined the shortlist of projects selected by the Belgian Government, following consultation of the Joint Committee—Presidency, Council Secretariat, Belgian authorities—for construction of a new building to meet the Council's accommodation requirements after enlargement. This is a Belgian Government initiative, conducted on their own responsibility, and it is for that Government to make the final selection of a developer in the light of the Council's comments. In the light of the discussion COREPER will now prepare an opinion for the Council to transmit to the Belgian Government. There will be continued contacts between the Council and the Belgians.

The Council took note of the resolutions passed by the European Parliament at its part-session of 14 to 18 April. It noted, in particular, the Parliament's request to be associated with ratification of ascession treaties but emphasised that this could not bind the Council, and agreed that the Parliament's views on the nomination procedure of the next President of the Commission should be taken into account in the context of the Three Wise Men's report.

EC / ANDEAN Pact

The day before Community Ministers held a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the five Andean Pact countries resulting in the issue of a joint declaration covering both economic and political subjects. I signed the declaration on behalf of the United Kingdom. In the Foreign Affairs Council itself EC Ministers formally approved Community negotiating directives for the negotiation of an economic cooperation agreement with the Andean Pact.

I also raised the question of butter sales to the USSR, with the Commission making clear our strong disapproval of the sale recently agreed by the Milk Management Committee and asking for a full report to be made to next week's meeting of COREPER.