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Council Of Ministers

Volume 13: debated on Friday 27 November 1981

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about the forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.

At present seven meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for December. The usual written forecast was deposited in the House on 26 November.The Environment Council is expected to meet on 3 December to discuss draft directives on major accident hazards in industry, the discharge of mercury into the aquatic environment, and air quality standards for lead; a draft regulation on implementation of the Washington convention on trade in endangered species and proposals on chlorofluorocarbons in the environment and the monitoring of air pollution. Ministers are also likely to discuss the Community environment action programme for 1982–86 and emissions from motor vehicles.The Foreign Affairs Council is expected to meet on 7–8 December to discuss relations with Japan and Cyprus; the Community's external steel regime for 1982; future arrangements for imports of low-cost textiles—including renewal of the Multi-fibre Arrangement—and a new method for reviewing Community staff pay. Ministers may, in addition, discuss restraint arrangements for imports of manioc and a report by the high level North-South working party. There is also likely to be a meeting with the European Parliament under the conciliation procedure to discuss a draft management regulation for food aid.The Labour and Social Affairs Council is expected to meet on 8 December to discuss the draft directive on lead in the work place and amendments to Community social security regulations for migrant workers, implementing their extension to cover self-employed persons, also to extend the unemployment benefit provisions and to provide for the payment of pre-retirement benefits to continue when a beneficiary moves to another member State. Ministers will also consider the social integration of disabled people; the review of the European Social Fund and the latest annual report and the draft directive on asbestos in the work place.The Finance Council is expected to meet on 14 December to continue discussion of the personal allowances for intra-Community travellers and tax relief for temporary imports of vehicles and permanent imports of personal property on a change of residence. Ministers will also consider the proposed annual economic report for 1981–82, a proposal for aid to Greece for the reconstruction of areas affected by the earthquakes in February and March and the draft non-life insurance services directive. The Council may also discuss the extension of the arrangement under which compensation is paid to Greece in respect of its contributions to United Kingdom budget refunds.The Fisheries Council is expected to meet on 14 December to continue discussion of the outstanding issues concerning a revised common fisheries policy.The Transport Council is expected to meet on 15 December to consider a resolution on Community railways policy and possibly rail freight tariffs; measures allowing aid to combined transport and liberalising certain aspects of combined transport journeys and the Community multilateral road haulage quota for 1982 and minor liberalising measures for certain road transport operations. Ministers will also consider a consultation and information procedure for inland transport agreements with third countries; technical requirements for inland waterway vessels; a new system of port State control for visiting ships; relations between member States and third countries in shipping matters and air fares and inter-regional air services.The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 15 December to discuss proposals for changes in Mediterranean agriculture in the context of the enlargement of the Community, and on various animal health matters including disease notification, brucellosis eradication, amendments to directives on health problems affecting trade in fresh meat, the review of certain non-veterinary qualifications and possibly the welfare of battery hens. Discussion is also expected on the estimates of supply and demand for beef and veal for the processing industry during 1982 and to continue, on the finalisation of GATT import quotas for 1982 on frozen beef and veal, buffalo meat and high quality beef.