After several compromise proposals presented by past Presidents, all of which failed to secure the necessary majority, the Council finally agreed on 13 March on a Presidency compromise solution. Fourteen Member States supported the text, the UK abstained and the Commission registered its opposition.
The reasons for the UK’s abstention are set out in an Annex to the text which is given as follows:
“The UK delegation cannot support the Presidency proposal which in its view represents an inadequate response to the agreement reached by the Edinburgh European Council in 1992. The UK delegation hopes that other negotiations on simplifying outdated Community food law will have a more meaningful outcome. It is particularly disappointing that the Commission continue to support the need for a specific Directive on food for diabetics in the face of opposition from 14 Member States and the current widely accepted dietary advice to diabetics which is to eat a normal and balanced diet.”
Had the UK voted against the proposals it would have failed, which would have meant a reversion to the development of directives on all nine categories in Directive 89/398. This would have been more unsatisfactory.
The Common Position, once formally adopted will be transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading under the co-decision procedure.