§ Mr. Hurd
My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I attended a two-day ministerial meeting of the intergovernmental conference on political union on 2 and 3 December.
The aim of the meeting was to narrow the areas of disagreement between member states in preparation for the Maastricht European Council on 9 and 10 December.
Some progress was made in a number of areas, including the provisions on the common foreign and security policy. Agreement was reached in principle to conference declarations in most of the areas we had proposed, including on the role of national parliaments and animal welfare. In other areas of the negotiation, a number of difficult issues remain to be resolved. Those must now be addressed by Heads of State and Government meeting in the European Council of Maastricht.
I made clear where our principle difficulties lie, but reiterated our commitment to working for an agreement at Maastricht which is satisfactory to all, and to this House.