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Development Council

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the European Community Development Council held on 4 November.

I represented the United Kingdom at the EC Development Council on 4 November. The main item on the agenda was to review the Community's response to the famine in Africa. The Council noted that the Community and the member states had more than fulfilled pledges made by the European Council in Dublin in December 1984 to provide 1ยท2 million tonnes of food aid to the countries in Africa most severely affected by famine.It endorsed in principle proposals by the European Commission to use resources available from the fourth and fifth European development funds to finance rehabilitation in the countries in Africa most severely affected by famine; and invited the Commission to identify specific actions to be undertaken in each country.In accordance with the conclusions of the European Council in Milan in June 1985, the Council also considered the Commission proposals to establish a reserve in the 1986 EC budget to provide up to 500,000 tonnes of wheat equivalent in addition to the normal food aid programme should famine conditions recur. The Council considered that, without prejudice to the budgetary process, the creation of an additional food aid reserve was necessary. The United Kingdom recorded its view that a reserve to meet such emergency needs should be established within the Community's normal food aid programme for 1986, and that food aid for famine relief should be the first call on that programme.The Council also discussed briefly Commission papers on women in development, the co-ordination of member states' aid policies and trade promotion. It agreed on programmes of further work in each of these areas.