Britain accepts Delors jobs package

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The Independent Online
JACQUES DELORS' plan for European economic revival is likely to be turned into specific proposals after its acceptance by European Union leaders today, British government sources said yesterday.

British opposition to certain elements of the package remains, in particular to ideas for borrowing by the European Commission. But the tone has changed to one of warm approval for much of it, with sources claiming British authorship for some of Mr Delors' documents.

Other EU leaders, meeting in Brussels yesterday for their twice-yearly summit, said John Major's tone had been very positive. The British sources emphasised that much of the paper concerned deregulation of labour markets, assistance for small business, and encouraging enterprise.

Britain has said it opposes commission plans to borrow pounds 5.25bn a year for five years to finance large infrastructure projects, including transport, energy and telecommunications. But the British sources refined their position further, saying it was not the raising of finance in general to which they objected, but the way it was proposed. The next stage, the sources said, would be to turn the plan into detailed proposals.

Negotiations on a world trade agreement are nearing completion, and summit leaders hope to remove key obstacles today. Yesterday Mr Major met Edouard Balladur, the French Prime Minister, who wants more compensation for a Gatt deal.

But last night France's Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, insisted EU negotiators meet all France's demands. Referring to the film and television sector, he said: 'I don't want the negotiations to fail today because the Hollywood lobby is more powerful than the French agricultural lobby.'

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