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Foreign Affairs Council

Volume 268: debated on Thursday 7 December 1995

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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 on 4 and 5 December. [5284]

The A points listed in document 12202/95—which will be deposited in the Libraries of the House as soon as it is available—were adopted except for item 24 which was withdrawn by presidency.The Council took note of the European Parliament resolutions in document 11507/95 PE-RE-79. A copy of this document will be deposited in the Libraries of the House as soon as it is available.The Council agreed that the presidency should write to the Prime Minister of Estonia confirming receipt of that country's application for membership of the European Union.The Council discussed preparations for the European Council at Madrid.The Council agreed that the conference on economic assistance to the Palestinians should be postponed to 9 January.The Council discussed the draft MEDA regulation, covering aid to countries in the Mediterranean region.The Commission presented a recommendation for a Council decision on renewal of the San Jose dialogue between the EU and central America. This was remitted to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further discussion.

The Council confirmed that the Commission should continue to negotiate a new agreement with Switzerland on the basis of its existing mandate.

The Council adopted conclusions on former Yugoslavia and agreed on the appointment of a deputy to Mr. Bildt in Sarajevo. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Ministers of France and of Germany briefed the Council on the forthcoming London, Paris and Bonn conferences.

The Council adopted a further common position on Nigeria, covering measures additional to those in the common position of 20 November. The new common position provides for further visa restrictions, the expulsion of military personnel in Nigerian diplomatic missions in the EU and interruption of sporting contacts. The Council undertook to consider further measures in the absence of progress in Nigeria.

The Council discussed a draft mandate for a trade and co-operation agreement with South Africa.

The Council discussed the draft new technical assistance to the Commmonwealth of Independent States—TACIS—regulation but agreed to defer further consideration until the Italian presidency.

The Council agreed a position paper on the March 1996 Asia/Europe meeting to be used as a basis for EU discussion with the Asian side in the run-up to the meeting.

The Council approved conclusions endorsing the broad lines of the Commission's communication on long-term relations between the EU and China.

The Council gave its political approval, by qualified majority, to a deal negotiated with the US, Canada and Australia on compensation—as required by article XXIV.6—of the general agreement on tariffs and trade for tariff increases resulting from EU enlargement.