§ Mr. Andrew Mitchell
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 17 and 18 September.
§ Mr. Hurd
The Foreign Affairs Council met in Brussels on 17 September. My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I represented the United Kingdom.
Ministers discussed the Iraq-Kuwait crisis. They reiterated their condemnation of Iraqi policies of aggression. In response to illegal acts against certain EC embassies in Kuwait, they decided to expel military personnel attached to Iraqi embassies and to limit the freedom of movement of other members of their staff. They reaffirmed their commitment to reinforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
The Council discussed provision of short-term economic assistance to the countries most seriously affected by the strict implementation of the sanctions against Iraq, notably Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.
The Council also approved 30 mecu additional emergency aid for the region and agreed that negotiations for an EC/GCC free trade agreement should start as soon as possible and that the Commission should start negotiations with Syria for a third financial protocol.
The Council approved a regulation to extend economic aid to Czechoslovakia, GDR, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in addition to Poland and Hungary. The Council also decided to remove quantitative restrictions on exports to the EC from Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, GDR, Yugoslavia and Romania. The Council asked the Commission to make preparations for the signature of the Community's Trade and Co-operation Agreement with Romania. The Council had a preliminary discussion of the Commission's paper on association agreements with east European countries and invited the Commission to conduct exploratory talks with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Ministers welcomed the continued progress towards German unification and the signature of the two-plus-four settlement. The Council considered the Commission's proposals for the integration of the former GDR territory into the Community, and adopted two interim measures governing the short period between unification and final adoption of the overall package.
The Council confirmed the need to accelerate consideration of Commission proposals to strengthen the Community's Mediterranean policy. The United Kingdom encouraged a greater emphasis on reform of EC trade with the Mediterranean countries. The Council also had a first discussion of the proposed declaration on transatlantic relations. The Council received a progress report from the Commission on the negotiations between the EC and EFTA for the creation of the European Economic Area.
In accordance with article 237 of the treaty of Rome, the Council referred the applications for EC membership received from Cyprus and Malta to the Commission for an Opinion. In the case of Cyprus, the Council reaffirmed its consistent position that the advantages of relations between the EC and the Republic of Cyprus should benefit the whole population of the island and its full support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Cyprus.759W
Meetings of the EC-Israel and EC-Algeria co-operation councils were held in the margins of the Council.