§ Mr. McCrindle
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 15 and 16 December.
§ Sir Ian Gilmour
I represented Her Majesty's Government at the Council, held on 15 and 16 December. My hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Industry and my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade attended for the discussions on steel and synthetic textiles respectively.
The European Council on 1 and 2 December indicated willingness to respond to requests from Poland for economic support. The Foreign Affairs Council accordingly decided, in view of the urgent need for agricultural and food products which Poland has made known to the Community, that in the present circumstances and as an exceptional measure the Community would offer to sell Poland the following products and quantities at favourable prices:
tonnes Sugar 50,000 Butter 30,000 Whole Milk Powder 3,000 Beef 15,000 Pigmeat 35,000 Rape seed 40,000 Olive oil 600 Barley 100,000 Rye 100,000 Rice 25,000
Acting on a proposal by my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, the Council adopted a declaration expressing concern about American exporters' artificial advantages, arising for example from energy price controls, in respect of products such as synthetic textiles and certain chemicals and noting the increases in certain imports from the United States. It was agreed that developments necessitated a new and stronger initiative. The Council invited the Commission urgently to pursue discussions with the United States Administration over the whole range of problems and possible solutions and to report back as early as possible with a first report in February 1981.
Before the Foreign Affairs Council there was a meeting of the European Community/Tunisia Co-operation Council.
The Council discussed a regulation to govern the Community's programme of aid for non-associated developing countries.
The Council formally adopted the new structure for the Community's generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP) for developing countries, to take effect on 1 January 1981 and to run for 10 years.
The Council authorised the Commission to negotiate arrangements intended to limit imports of manioc into the European Community.
Ministers considered and adopted proposals to provide for Greece to receive a 13 per cent. share of the quota section of the European regional development fund from 1 January 1981. The present quotas of the existing member States will be reduced on a relative GDP basis: the new quota for the United Kingdom will be 23.80 per cent.
The Council discussed proposals for adopting social measures to aid early retirement and short-term working in the Community steel industry. The Council Expressed 224W its support for the Commission to continue measures in the social sector with a view to alleviating the effects of restructuring of the steel industry on employment. The Commission will bring detailed proposals to the January Foreign Affairs Council.
There was discussion on proposals to create posts for an eleventh Judge and a fifth Advocate-General in the Court of Justice, but no agreement was reached.
Commission proposals on the annual review of staff pay were discussed and a decision postponed.
The member States agreed to nominate the following to be members of the new Commission which takes office on 6 January 1981. The formal decision will be taken on 1 January, when Greece will be legally able to participate.
Luxembourg: Mr. Gaston Thorn (President) Belgium: Viscount Etienne Davignon Denmark: Mr. Finn Olav Gundelach Federal Republic of Mr. Wilhelm Haferkamp Germany: Dr. Karl-Heinz Narjes France: Mr. Francois-Xavier Ortoli Mr. Claude Cheysson Greece: Mr. George Kontogeorgis Ireland: Mr. Michael O'Kennedy Italy: Mr. Lorenzo Natali Netherlands: Mr. Frans Andriessen United Kingdom: Mr. Christopher Tugendhat Mr. Ivor Richard, QC