To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 2 March.
My right hon. Friends the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Minister for Trade and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 2 March.The Commission Vice-President, Mr. Andriessen, reported to the Council on his recent visit to several states of the former Soviet Union. The Council agreed that the Commission should continue its exploratory talks on enhanced trade and co-operation agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It also agreed that the role of the EC task force monitoring the distribution of EC food aid should be expanded and the the EC should participate in the proposed international science and technology centre for retraining and redeploying nuclear scientists from the former Soviet Union.Ministers agreed on the need for an early conclusion to the GATT Uruguay round and invited all participants to speed up negotiations.President Delors presented the Commission's future financing proposals for 1993 to 1997. Member states gave their initial reactions. I questioned the Commission's proposals to increase the ceiling on our own resources and on agricultural spending, drawing attention to the extra funds that would in any case be available between now and 1997 within the existing limits on the Community's own resources.The Council reviewed the negotiations on a European economic area in the light of the Commission's request to the European Court of Justice for a second opinion on the revised draft agreement. The Council expressed the hope that the court's opinion would be made available as soon as possible.Ministers discussed EC relations with Morocco and invited the Commission to make proposals on economic and technical co-operation and the Political Committee to examine ways of strengthening political dialogue.Ministers issued a statement condemning the recent violence in Sarajevo following the referendum on the future status of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They agreed that the Commission should begin exploratory talks with Slovenia on a trade and co-operation agreement.The fifth meeting of the EC/Tunisia Co-operation Council was held in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council.