§ Mr. Maples
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the 12 November meeting of the European Council of Finance Ministers.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
I represented the United Kingdom at the meeting of the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers in Brussels on 12 November.
The Council reached agreement on a common position on measures to guarantee the effective application of the guidelines on budgetary discipline adopted by the Brussels and Fontainebleau European Councils. The intention is that a final text will be formally adopted as conclusions of the Council of Ministers after a meeting with a delegation from the European Parliament to be held on 21 November.
The text agreed by the ECOFIN Council incorporates the European Council guidelines into the Community's budgetary procedures and contains provisions to ensure that in future the rate of growth of net expenditure relating to agricultural markets will be less than the rate of growth of the own resources base. The agreement thus achieves the Government's objectives on budgetary discipline. The text of the Council's common position will be made available to Parliament as soon as possible.
The Council also discussed the position to be adopted by the Community in discussion in the OECD on export credits for aircraft and mixed credits. These issues were referred to COREPER for futher consideration.
The Council had a preliminary discussion of the setting of a new multiannual ceiling for FEOGA Guidance expenditure.
The Council invited COREPER to prepare a report on a Commission proposal to harmonise the income tax regime applicable to Community residents living in one member state and working in another.