§ Mr. John Silkin
I represented the United Kingdom at this meeting assisted by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary.
There was an exchange of views on the main outstanding problems arising on the draft Common Market regulation on potatoes. I emphasised the need for provisions enabling the United Kingdom to operate a regional price stabilisation scheme. The Commission undertook to consider this in its re-examination of the proposals.
The Council also discussed a Common Market organisation for sheepmeat. I questioned the necessity for a sheepmeat regime but said that if there had to be a common measure, the Commission's market-related proposals perhaps offered a reasonable starting point. But I pointed out that a transitional period would be needed to avoid unnecessary disturbance to trade and prices and that adequate and continuing access for New Zealand lamb must be ensured. The Commission's proposals will now be subject to further study, which will also include other legally viable alternatives.
I reminded the Commission of the need for urgent action to change the coefficients used in calculating monetary compensatory amounts on bacon and other processed pigmeat. The Commission confirmed that it has in hand the study which it promised to undertake during the price negotiations and also that proposals will be made shortly for the reduction of mcas on some processed products exported by the United Kingdom, including confectionery, cakes and biscuits.
In a discussion on progress in the GATT trade negotiations, I supported the Commission's efforts to secure a multilateral agreement on dairy products which would include arrangements for continuing access for New Zealand cheese to the United Kingdom market.
I also raised the question of EEC policy concerning the export of live animals for slaughter. The Commission said that it was pressing ahead urgently with work on a further Community directive which develops in detail the provisions of the Council of Europe convention on the protection of animals during international transport.