28 July 1997
EU farm ministers to visit the UK

EUROPEAN farm ministers will gather at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in May next year as part of a three-day conference.

Britain will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 1998. Farm minister Dr Jack Cunningham, who will be president of the council from January 1, has invited the ministers to the conference. Dr Cunningham said it would be the first time such a meeting would be held in the North East.

EU farm ministers gather once every six months for an informal meeting hosted by the Presidency to discuss agricultural matters. Each of the 15 member states takes over the Presidency of the European Union in turn for six-month periods.

The UK last performed this role between July and December 1992, and the Agriculture Ministers Council was held in Cambridge in September of that year.