Oral Answers to Questions — European Community (Ministers' Meeting)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1976.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Prentice Mr Reginald Prentice , Newham North East 12:00 am, 3rd May 1976

I apologise for the length of the reply, but I was asked for a statement on the meeting.

So far as progress in the Community's own programmes is concerned, this was a disappointing meeting. No agreement was reached on spending the 20 million units of account for the non-associated developing countries provided in the 1976 Community budget, in fulfilment of the decision in principle which was taken in July 1974. There was no agreement on a Community contribution to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, nor on spending 2·5 million units of account provided in the budget for collaboration between the EEC and nongovernmental organisations, nor on the forward planning of food aid. The Commission will make further proposals on harmonisation and co-ordination of member States' bilateral policies for consideration at the next Development Council this summer.

The Council did, however, agree on the member States' common position on major aid issues for last week's discussion of the transfer of resources by the Conference on International Economic Co-operation. These include undertakings of progress towards better harmonisation of aid terms for each developing country and improved terms for those countries whose needs are greatest, and the idea of an agreement among donors to devote aid increases principally to those experiencing the worst difficulties and the greatest needs.