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Council Of Ministers

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 30 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.

At present nine meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for December. The usual written forecast was deposited in the House earlier today.The Environment Council is expected to meet on 3 December. It is expected to discuss cadmium in the aquatic environment; banning of imports of baby seal products; air and water pollution; the third environment action programme and environmental assessment.The European Council is expected to meet on 3–4 December.The Labour and Social Affairs Council is expected to meet on 10 December. Ministers will be discussing the asbestos (workplace) directive. Ministers will also consider final conclusions on the report of the first programme of pilot schemes and studies to combat poverty and a Commission communication on vocational training and new technologies. The forthcoming review of the European social fund and a second health and safety action programme will feature on the agenda, as will a progress report on the draft directives on temporary and part-time work.The Foreign Affairs Council is due to meet on 13–14 December when it is expected to discuss relations with Japan, Community steel matters, the European Parliament's proposals for a uniform electoral system and the follow-up to the GATT ministerial meeting. Ministers will consider a Commission report on bilateral negotiations under the multi-fibre arrangement and a communication from the Commission on completion of the internal market. The Council will also prepare its position for the next ministerial conference with the Portuguese. We expect to raise the question of the European Community—Spain 1970 agreement.Further discussions on the Commission's memorandum on Community development policy and on the Super Sara nuclear safety research programme may also take place.

The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 13 and 14 December to discuss long term contracts, beef import arrangements, several veterinary items and battery hens. Ministers may also discuss certain agricultural policies which are particularly important in the context of the enlargement of the Community.

The Transport Council is expected to meet on 16 December. It is expected to consider vehicle weights and dimensions; frontier facilitation; the Community road haulage quota; duty-free fuel; road haulage tariffs; the transport infrastructure "mini-regulation"; negotiations with Austria in the transport sector; international passenger transport agreements with third countries; the international carriage of passengers by road by means of occasional bus and coach services.

The Energy Council on 9 November agreed that there should be a special meeting of Energy Ministers to discuss the role of solid fuels in the Community's energy policy. This is expected to take place on 16 December.

The Economic and Finance Council is expected to meet on 17 December to discuss the annual report on the economic situation in the Community and to adopt the budgetary guidelines for the member States for 1983. Ministers are also expected to renew their discussion on the Commission communication on budget discipline and economic convergence. The Council may also discuss economic and financial questions arising from the European Council discussions and may continue their discussions on the draft seventh company law directive on harmonisation of consolidated accounts.

The Fisheries Council, which was due to meet on 6 December, has been postponed and will now meet on 21 December when it will discuss fisheries matters in the light of the conclusions of the European Council.