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Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I can confirm that the Government will enter the negotiations aiming to secure the best possible agreement for the British people. One of our concerns is to curtail excessive centralised bureaucracy from Brussels.
Lord Ezra: My Lords, does the noble Lord recall that a few weeks ago my noble friend Lord Jenkins of Hillhead introduced a Motion in this House calling on the Government to take a positive attitude in the negotiations to come? Does he also recall that the Government's response was that indeed that would be the case? Would it therefore be better to think about positive proposals in the forthcoming negotiations rather than considering ways in which we can turn down the proposals of others?
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the noble Lord is quite right. We are committed to entering the negotiations in a positive manner. We want to use them to secure the best deal that we can for Britain. We believe that by going out and being positive we are most likely to achieve that goal.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I welcome the reply of the noble Lord and the inclusion in particular of a reference to embedding subsidiarity. Will he expand further on whether that means that the
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the nature of the subsidiarity principle is that matters best left to member state governments should be left to member state governments. With regard to local government, it is for this Parliament to determine these matters.
Lord Jenkins of Hillhead: My Lords, will the noble Lord bear in mind that the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, powerful as his words always are, put me irresistibly in mind of the statement of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge when the railway was to come to Cambridge? He wrote in protest saying that the proposal was as repugnant to the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge as he was sure it was to Almighty God. Nevertheless, will he not take too much notice of the noble Lord, powerfully though he speaks, and pursue a more constructive line?
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord that we shall pay regard to the views of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, as we consider appropriate, as we equally pay regard to the views of Almighty God.
Lord Buxton of Alsa: My Lords, will my noble friend the Minister remind the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, that the railway driver was an Englishman, or a British subject, which makes a very great difference in my view? Does going to the IGC in a positive frame of mind with positive proposals mean increasing or decreasing the subservience of this country to Brussels?
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the European Union and the Southern African Development Community maintain a regular dialogue at ministerial and official level on a wide range of political and developmental themes. The European Development Fund can be used to fund EU/SADC initiatives.
Lord Judd: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that reply. Does he agree that the economic, social and political strengths of both South Africa and members of the southern African community in the future lie in the success that they make of regional co-operation; that their regional co-operation relates very closely to the regional
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the noble Lord is right. The relationship between the European Union and the SADC is important. It is an important element in the future relationships between our corner of the globe and southern Africa. As part of that, the EDF has an important role to play. Within that context and indeed within the wider context, we are committed to the EDF.
Lord Taylor of Gryfe: My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that in this House yesterday the representative of UNICEF spoke on the deplorable situation in Rwanda? Is he further aware that he paid a compliment to the role of Her Majesty's Government in the affairs of that unfortunate country but was extremely disturbed that the European Union had played no role whatever in discharging its responsibilities in that area?
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I was not aware of the remarks to which the noble Lord refers. I am glad to hear that the representative feels that the British Government's part has been significant. Obviously, I am upset to hear the comments made about the role of the European Union. I shall report them back to my noble friend Lady Chalker.
Lord Judd: My Lords, I am sure that the House will be grateful for the assurance that the Government are committed to the EDF. Can the noble Lord go a step further and assure the House that the Government will rigorously oppose any reduction in the resources available for southern Africa through the EDF and indeed will give a lead in ensuring an increase in those resources?
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, as the noble Lord knows, one of the high points of our aid programme is our work in southern Africa. He will also know that negotiations are still going on about the future funding of the EDF. We are concerned because an increasing amount of our total aid budget is swallowed up in multilateral programmes rather than in bilateral programmes. In order to ensure the future strength of our bilateral programmes, which have been given such a clean bill of health by the OECD, we have made it clear that we cannot continue to contribute the same amount to EDFVIII as we have done for the EDFVII contribution. However, I cannot give details of our position which remains confidential because we are still negotiating. Nonetheless the amount will still be substantial.
Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, does the noble Lord agree that the most practical aid to South Africa itself would be to assist in the development of housing, schooling, water and sanitation in the shanty towns of South Africa, thereby giving the people, who have great expectations, some prospect of an improvement in the future?
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, in September last year the Prime Minister and President Mandela signed a memorandum on development co-operation which sets out the agreed areas of focus for £60 million worth of UK bilateral aid to be provided over a three-year period. The
Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 this afternoon, my noble friend Lord Inglewood will, with the leave of the House, repeat in the form of a Statement, an Answer to a Private Notice Question in another place on Bosnia.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, will the Government Chief Whip tell the House what he has in mind when he says "at a convenient moment after 3.30"? As he knows, these matters are normally arranged after consultation, but there has been no consultation as to the appropriate time. I should have thought that if "after 3.30 p.m." we are still discussing the next item of business and have not started the main debate, it would be convenient to take the Statement before the main debate started. The alternative is either to break into the debate, which no one wants, or to wait until the end of it.
Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, at this stage we are not in a position of knowing whether or not the Private Notice Question will have started in another place by 3.30 p.m. If that is the case and we have completed the next business, it is right that we should go ahead with the Statement. Otherwise, I propose that we should break after the Front Bench speakers have made their contributions to this afternoon's debate. That would, therefore, be after the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Exeter.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, I simply want to make the point that these matters are normally dealt with through consultation, if not negotiation. I do not feel that it is right, for the good order of the House, to be advised in this manner at this stage on how the matter will be dealt with, especially as it is generally understood that a break in a debate is undesirable.
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