Select Committee on European Communities Seventeenth Report


Letter from Jeff Rooker MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  As you may recall, the above proposal was debated in the House of Lords on 30 April 1998[11]. I am writing to update your Committee on developments since then.

  The Fourth Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum (8164/96 of 10 May 1999) indicated that the German Presidency has been trying hard to build on the progress on the cocoa and chocolate products proposal, with some success as far as the remaining technical points are concerned, and that it now appears that Member States may be prepared to modify their positions sufficiently to enable Council to agree a Common Position in the near future.

  The latest Presidency compromise proposal (7824/99 ADD 1—copy enclosed) contains elements which we could accept only in the context of a global compromise, such as the limitations on the vegetable fats which can be used. On the other hand, it provides for the retention of a derogation for UK milk chocolate which is of particular importance to us. Also, although we have not been able to persuade other Member States that double labelling of chocolate containing non-cocoa vegetable fats is unnecessary, we have been successful in arguing against front of package labelling. The changes to the earlier proposal have been discussed with industry representatives who are prepared to accept them, as they will not require changes to existing production practices. The outstanding comitology issues were discussed at COREPER last week and the Presidency hopes to reach agreement on a Common Position at the Internal Market Council on 21 June.

   I hope this is helpful.

8 June 1999

11   See correspondence printed in Correspondence with Ministers, 4th Report, Session 1998-99 p 121-122. Back

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