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Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993: Independent Monitor's Report

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The report was laid on 31 July 1997. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs welcomes the Report and notes Dame Elizabeth's recommendations, which will receive careful consideration.

British Embassy, Berlin

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have selected Bebcon, a consortium of prominent German contractors and

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financiers, as the preferred bidder for the new British Embassy offices in Berlin.

The Embassy will be built to a design by Michael Wilford and Partners, winners of the 1995 Embassy Design Competition, on the site of the pre-war British Embassy in Wilhelmstrasse. Under the eventual contract, Bebcon will finance, construct and then manage the building for 30 years. Building work will start around the end of this year, and the Embassy staff will move into the new building in autumn 1999.

This is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's pathfinder Private Finance Initiative overseas estate project. EU competition procedures and British Government Private Finance Initiative (PFI) guidance have been followed throughout.

EU Council Programme

Lord Strabolgi asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To detail the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for August, and to list major EU events for the next six months.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The information is shown below.

This calendar is primarily concerned with European Union matters, but certain other relevant events are also included. Events and dates quoted are based on the information available on the date of issue.

European Calendar: August 1997-January 1998

August 1997
There are no events scheduled for August. September 1997
4BrusselsPolitical Committee
5KievEU/Ukraine Summit
7-9EchternachAgriculture Council (Informal)
12-14MondorfEcofin Council (Informal)
15-16BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
15-19StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
22-25New YorkPolitical Committee
22-23BrusselsAgriculture Council
29BrusselsPolitical Committee (reserve date-tbc)
October 1997
1-2BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
2LuxembourgTelecommunications Council
3-4EchternachInternal Market Council (Informal)
6-7LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
7LuxembourgSocial Affairs Council
9LuxembourgTransport Council
9-10MondorfJustice & Home Affairs Council (Informal)
10-11StrasbourgCouncil of Europe Summit
13LuxembourgEcofin Council
16BrusselsPolitical Committee
16LuxembourgEnvironment Council
16-17LuxembourgPossible European Council
20-21LuxembourgPolitical Committee
20-21LuxembourgAgriculture Council
20-24StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
25-26MondorfForeign Ministers (Informal)
30LuxembourgFisheries Council
November 1997
3BrusselsConsumer Council
3BrusselsPolitical Committee
5-6BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
10BrusselsResearch Council
10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
13BrusselsIndustry Council
17BrusselsEcofin Council
17BrusselsPolitical Committee
17-18BrusselsAgriculture Council
17-21StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
19BrusselsFisheries Council (tbc)
20BrusselsEducation Council
21BrusselsBudget Council
24BrusselsCulture Council
24-25BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
27BrusselsInternal Market Council
28BrusselsDevelopment Council
December 1997
1BrusselsEcofin Council
1BrusselsTelecommunications Council
2BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council
3-4BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
4BrusselsHealth Council
4-5BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council
8BrusselsEnergy Council
8-9BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
10-11BrusselsTransport Council
12-13LuxembourgEuropean Council
15-16BrusselsAgriculture Council
15-16BrusselsEnvironment Council
15-19StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
18-19CopenhagenOSCE Ministerial Council
18-19BrusselsFisheries Council
January 1998
1UK Presidency commences
12BrusselsFisheries Council (tbc)
19BrusselsEcofin Council
19-20BrusselsAgriculture Council
26-27BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
29-30(tba)Justice & Home Affairs Council (Informal)

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA186

Men: Relations with Government

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 14 July (WA 91), and to avoid any accusation of sexual discrimination, what measures they intend to introduce to promote a new dialogue between men and the Government in order to build a new bond of trust; and in the light of the dearth of men's organisations, whether they will now consider the establishment of a Men's National Commission to facilitate dialogue between men and the Government.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We want to build a strong bond of trust between Government and the people--both men and women. We are currently looking at various ways of achieving this. One of the ideas being considered is setting up a People's Panel which would include a representative cross-section of the population.

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It is widely acknowledged that women tend to feel more disconnected and alienated from politics and government than men. That is why we are looking at a range of options for opening up a new dialogue between Government and women; through more and better communications with women's organisations; and through reaching out to women across the country.

Women's National Commission: Review

Baroness Denton of Wakefield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer given by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 14 July (WA 91-2), who they have commissioned to review the role of the Women's National Commission, and to what criteria.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: This is an internal review which is being led by Joan Ruddock, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women. We will publish the terms of reference once they are finalised.


Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether requiring breeding rams to be R R homozygous for resistance to scrapie would eliminate that disease within a decade.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Although genetic approaches may well have an important role in the reduction of the incidence of scrapie the genetic basis of resistance is not as well characterised in some breeds of sheep as in others. The Government are funding more research in this important area. The state of scientific knowledge at present therefore means that I am not able to give a categorical answer to this question.

BSE Surveillance by EU Members

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What other European member states are doing to provide suitabily qualified staff and services for scientific testing of BSE.

Lord Donoughue: It is the responsibility of the EU Commission to ensure that member states meet their Community obligations. The Commission has recently reported on BSE surveillance and other aspects of control in other member states, except Portugal. Its findings include details of the laboratories involved in the diagnosis and testing for BSE and information on staff training. I will be depositing copies of these reports in the Library of the House.

All member states inspected have sent at least one member of staff for training at the Central Veterinary Laboratory at Weybridge.

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA188

BSE: Diagnosis in France

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any evidence to suggest that BSE cases in France have been classified as meningitis.

Lord Donoughue: We have no evidence to suggest mis-diagnosis of BSE in France.

BSE: Moving Annual Total of Cases

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by Lord Lucas on 23 January (WA 68-70) and by Lord Donoughue on 29 July (WA 32), what was the moving annual total of BSE cases reported in each 52-week period for each week so far this year.

Lord Donoughue: The following table shows the moving annual total of BSE cases reported during each of the first 30 weeks of this year:

Week 199752 week total reported


Week 1 is the week ending on the first Friday of the year.

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA189

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