The 6 September 1991 veto of the agricultural concessions to Central Eastern Europe proposed by the Commission opened a phase of enormous uncertainty. On the one hand, the French government could not easily back down from its veto without losing face with its farmers and public opinion. To make matters worse, a nationwide demonstration of French farmers was to take place on 29 September, the day before the Council was to meet again. On the other hand, the EC foreign minister’s embarrassment over the French veto, coming so soon after the coup in Moscow, had strengthened the negotiating position of the association candidates. The Council of General Affairs meeting of 30 September would therefore be decisive, a true moment to see whether the negotiation of the association agreements could continue or would have to be suspended. 1