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Ec Council Of Ministers

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask 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 the Transport Council on 4 and 5 December, Ministers will further consider the Commission's proposals on stage II of the EC common shipping policy and a report on the present state of discussions with certain west and central African states concerning their cargo allocation policies. A number of road transport items will be discussed including a proposal for a Council regulation on road haulage cabotage; training for drivers of dangerous goods by road; vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road; negotiations between the EC and third countries on transit routes; road safety and a note from the presidency on social regulations concerning road transport. It is expected that the Transport Commissioner will make an oral presentation on Commission proposals on railways policy in the Community. A number of matters concerning the development of civil aviation in the Community are to be considered including proposals for Council regulations on fares for scheduled air services and access for air-carriers to scheduled intra-Community air service routes and the sharing of passenger capacity on scheduled services between member states. Ministers will discuss a presidency note on problems relating to the capacity of air traffic systems and aspects of Community transport infrastructure.The Telecommunications Council will meet on 7 December. Ministers will discuss the opening up to competition of the Community's telecommunications services markets by a Commission directive, and a related proposal for a Council directive on open network provision (ONP) to define the conditions on which telecommunications operators make available monopoly services. A common position on the proposed Council measure is unlikely to be achieved on 7 December. A proposed Council declaration on the establishment of a Commission working group to consider research and development in the field of broad-band technology will also be discussed.The European Council will meet in Strasbourg on 8 and 9 December. Heads of Government will discuss developments in eastern Europe and the EC response to them, and will discuss economic and monetary union. They will consider a proposal for a charter of fundamental social rights and a number of issues relevant to the completion of the single market. There will also be discussions on audiovisual matters and the free movement of people.The Agriculture Council will meet on 11 and 12 December to discuss veterinary checks, compound feedingstuffs, pesticide residues, pig semen, monitoring of export refunds and the scrutiny of EACFF accounts. Ministers will be asked to agree on the Commission submission to GATT on long term agricultural reform. The Council may also discuss the sluice gate price for pigmeat.

At the Education Council on 14 December Ministers will be invited to agree the terms of a mixed resolution on measures to combat failure at school, mixed conclusions on technical and vocational education and initial training and on European Schools, and a decision amending the ERASMUS programme. There may also be discussion on the possibility of opening up Community programmes in the education and training fields to eastern European countries.

At the Research Council on 15 December there will be further discussion of a new framework programme of Community activities in research and technological development. The agenda also anticipates the adoption of a common position on a two year programme on human genome analysis.

The Economic and Financial Council will meet on 15 December to consider the economic situation in the Community, including the Commission's annual economic report. The revised financial regulation will be taken at the Council with the aim of reaching agreement by the end of the year. The discussion on taxation of savings will concentrate on mutual assistance. Common position was reached at ECOFIN on 13 November on the proposed revised Council decisions which will replace the 1964 decision on co-ordination between central banks and the 1974 decision on encouraging the convergence of economic policies and performance. Subject to the opinions of the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee it is hoped that the decisions will be adopted at the forthcoming meeting. The Solvency Ratio Directive and Second Banking Co-ordination Directive have received second reading opinions by the European Parliament and now also return to the Council for final adoption. ECOFIN is expected to discuss progress on the Commission's indirect tax proposals and a progress report on key issues of Takeover Directive negotiations in the Council working party.

The Fisheries Council will meet on 18 December to discuss 1990 TACS and quotas, EC/Greenland, EC/ Norway, EC/Sweden, EC/Norway/Sweden, EC/Faroes, NAFO, 1990 opportunities in Spanish, Portuguese and member states' waters (Accession Treaties) and 1990 fisheries opportunities in waters off French Guyana. It may also discuss tariff quotas and EC/USSR, EC/GDR, EC/Poland and EC/Latin America.

At the Foreign Affairs Council on 19 December Ministers will be asked to agree to the terms of the EC-USSR agreement. Ministers will consider developments in Eastern Europe and EC-EFTA co-operation. A Ministerial meeting on EC-EFTA matters is expected to take place in the margins of the FAC. The Council will consider the Commission's draft negotiating mandate for a second stage EC-GCC agreement and Ministers will be asked to agree on the Commission's submission to GATT on long term agricultural reform. The FAC is expected to discuss proposals from the Commission on European Community policy on Japanese car imports, including the issue of import restraints. Ministers will also need to discuss the implications of the finding of the GATT panel on the dispute between EC and United States over the EC oilseeds regime. They may also reach agreement on POSEIDOM (special programme for French overseas departments).

The Internal Market Council on 21 and 22 December will discuss a number of measures relevant to the completion of the single market.