Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on the ECOFIN Council on 15th November 1989.
Sir Fergus Montgomery To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the latest meeting of the European Community’s Economic and Finance Council.
Mr. Major The ECOFIN Council met in Brussels on 13 November. I represented the United Kingdom.
The Council discussed proposals for revised decisions on the promotion of economic convergence and on co-ordination between central banks and a common position was reached on the relevant legal texts. These texts form part of the stage I programme for economic and monetary union, which the Community has agreed will begin on 1 July 1990. Future economic and monetary arrangements beyond stage I were also discussed. It was agreed that the papers discussed by the Council, including the United Kingdom’s paper “An Evolutionary Approach to Economic and Monetary Union”, should be forwarded for further discussion at the next meeting of the European Council in Strasbourg.
On the abolition of fiscal frontiers, outline procedures for applying VAT and excise duties to intra-Community commercial transactions were agreed, involving minimal burdens for businesses and tax administrations.
Proposals for strengthened mutual assistance arrangements between tax authorities were considered. Discussions will continue.
It was agreed, at the request of Portugal, that the Commission and the Economic Policy Committee should undertake a study into the decline of household saving in the Community.
A proposed amendment to the solvency ratios directive by the European Parliament was also discussed and will be further considered at the December meeting.