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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The figures quoted in my Answer to my noble friend's question on 7 June came from a recent CBI survey involving over 500 companies. But the Government do not rely solely on this survey in assessing business opinion and are aware of the particular concerns of small businesses about excessive regulation. We want to cut back regulatory burdens wherever possible, both at the national and the European level.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No. Were we part of the European Economic Area, but not a member of the European Union, our companies would have to accept the rules and obligations of the Single Market without the British Government having any say in their formulation or adoption by the Council of Ministers. We need to be inside the European Union to influence European legislation to the advantage of our businesses; to press for more liberalisation, deregulation, and the elimination of unfair state aids; and to ensure that in international trade negotiations, Europe argues for free trade and open markets.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No. In general European legislation is useful for British interests. Some European legislation if accepted as originally proposed could have unwelcome consequences. We work within the European Union to improve such proposals in the negotiating process.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The content of the note verbal which accompanied the deposit of the instrument of ratification by Greece of the protocol of its accession to the Western European Union (WEU) corresponds to the reservation made by Greece at the time of its acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The maintenance of this reservation, as communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and known to all WEU member states, is entirely consistent with the provisions of Article X, second paragraph, of the modified Brussels Treaty.
The 1995/6 estimate for the cost of travel overseas is £2.25 million. Staff administration costs for 1995/6 are estimated to be approximately £780,600. The total cost of the service as a percentage of the 1995/6 FCO vote is 0.25 per cent.
The Cabinet Office Protective Security Review of 1993, covering security policy and practices, has prompted the FCO to look at the way in which despatch of mails to overseas posts is carried out. As part of this exercise the FCO is also looking at the future structure of the Queen's Messenger Service.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Member states agreed in Council Decision 93/591 of 8 November 1993 that the Council of Ministers would henceforth be called the Council of the European Union to reflect the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union. The change reflects the fact that the Council adopts acts both in the Community and in the intergovernmental pillars.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have been concerned for some time about reports that Israel may have a nuclear weapons programme. We continue to urge Israel to allay these suspicions by acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state and concluding a full-scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
The only nuclear-weapon states recognised under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are those which had manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967; i.e., UK, US, France, China and Russia.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly was taken into consideration at a recent meeting of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) in Strasbourg, when amendments to the draft European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights were discussed and agreed. The United Kingdom was represented at this meeting.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have consistently made clear to the Turkish Government that we expect them to co-operate fully with all human rights mechanisms established under international treaties and conventions to which they are parties. This includes the Independent Committee set up under the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, which last visited Turkey in October 1994.
We have also made clear to the Turkish Government on many occasions our concerns over Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. We believe that non-violent expression of opinion in Turkey should be protected, not punished. We look for early action from Turkey to carry out its intention to implement a package of reforms to improve democratic and human rights, including reform of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law.
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