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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): If the Committee of Ministers' compliance with commitments procedures are to be credible and effective, discussions must remain confidential to ensure frank and constructive dialogue. This is clear from the implementation procedures adopted in April 1995. Consequently, if we are to give the procedures every chance of success in improving compliance by member states with their commitments--eg, to respect human rights--supporting documentation needs to be handled in the same way. It is for this reason that we do not support the release to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Secretary General's factual overview. We would agree however that the Parliamentary Assembly should be kept informed generally of progress.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Information on without foundation appeals referred in 1995 to the Secretary of State for further consideration is given in table 8.1 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 1995, issue 9/96, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
The Council took a vote on one item, a mandate for the Commission to open negotiations with the United States on the regulatory framework for a possible future EU/US common aviation area. This was opposed by the United Kingdom but was approved with the support of other member states. The mandate is restricted to negotiations on "soft rights" such as competition rules and ownership and control of airlines. Any second stage, including a mandate for negotiations on "hard rights" such as market access, would require a separate Council decision. Member states retain the right to conduct bilateral negotiations with the US while Community level negotiations are under way.
The Council reached agreement with the European Parliament in the conciliation procedure on guidelines for the trans-European transport network. The next stage is for the Council and the European Parliament to adopt the agreed text, formally and separately, to bring the guidelines into force.
The Council reached political agreement on a proposed directive concerning the safety of domestic passenger ferries. The Council also reached political agreement on a draft directive to harmonise codes used to record information on driving licences.
The Council agreed a mandate for the Commission to negotiate an agreement between the Community, the European Organisation for the safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) and the European Space Agency (ESA) on a European contribution to a global navigation satellite system (GNSS).
The Commission presented progress reports to the Council on its negotiations with Switzerland on land and air transport, and on the work of the research task forces on intermodality and the train of the future.
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): Her Majesty's Government believe that decisions on the organisation of enterprises are best taken by those enterprises themselves. The Government's role is to help create a flexible labour market and a skilled and adaptable workforce, so that employees affected by restructuring of enterprises can find new work quickly. The Labour Force Survey shows an increase in employment of 733,000 in Great Britain since winter 1992-93.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): Files and other records of government departments or agencies which are to be privatised are dealt with under the provisions of the Public Records Act. In each instance the staff of the department and of the PRO identify those records of enduring value and they are transferred to the PRO in due course. Other series of records may be passed to the private sector purchasers and these have been itemised each year by the Keeper in appendices to the annual reports. A list of presentations authorised under the Act since 1989 extracted from the annual reports is given below.
|British Coal Corporation||Assorted files (1920-1966)|
|Department of Trade and Industry||Assorted files (1945-1995)|
|Department of Trade and Industry||National Engineering Laboratory records|
|British Coal Corporation||Pre-1985 NRF and FS files|
|British Coal Corporation||Pre-1985 V files|
|United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority||Miscellaneous records|
|British Coal Corporation||Duplicate research reports, commercial contracts and other records|
|HM Treasury||Personal files of staff of Forward Catering|
|Property Services Agency||Registered files|
|Property Services Agency||Property maintenance records|
|Property Services Agency||Personnel records of PSA projects (1973-1993)|
|Property Services Agency||All PSA projects (1960-1992)|
|Property Services Agency||PSA files (1983-1992)|
|Property Services Agency||PSA files, Scotland (1976-1993)|
|Property Services Agency||PSA property records; PSA job and contract files (1976-1993)|
|Property Services Agency||PSA building management files (1976-1993)|
|Property Services Agency||PSA property records; property, policy and contract files; microfiche and computer records (1975-1993)|
|Property Services Agency||Management records, PSA registered files (1940-1993)|
|Export Credits Guarantee Department||Records of the Insurance Services Group|
|Property Services Agency||Records of PSA projects|
|Department of Employment||Records of Professional and Executive Recruitment|
|National Dock Labour Board||Plans of board headquarters|
|National Dock Labour Board||Plans of other board properties|
|National Dock Labour Board||Records of registered dock workers on the register immediately prior to the abolition of the scheme|
|Training Agency||Unregistered papers of the Skills Training Agency|
|Department of Transport||Road service licensing application files, NW Traffic Area|
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Most countries apply the safe third country principle. The Dublin Convention, which the majority of member states, including the United Kingdom, have ratified, will provide a framework for operating that principle within the European Union.
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