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The Earl of Kimberley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: At this stage, it is not possible to forecast accurately when this fishery will be completely phased out. However, a recent report by a technical working group, comprising MAFF, SOAEFD and Environment Agency scientists, forecast that, if the current rate of retirement from the fishery is sustained, then the number of licences will halve (from the 1992 level of 142 licences) by 1998 and will fall by about 75 per cent. (to 35 licences) by 2004.

European Council: Future Programme

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean):

Monthly forecast of business for November 1997

The following Councils are scheduled:

3BrusselsConsumer Council
5BrusselsEcofin Council
10BrusselsResearch Council
10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
13BrusselsIndustry Council
17-18BrusselsAgriculture Council
19BrusselsFisheries Council (tbc)
20BrusselsEducation Council
24BrusselsCulture Council
24-25BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
27BrusselsBudget Council
27BrusselsInternal Market Council
28BrusselsDevelopment Council

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The following subjects are likely to be discussed: November 3: Consumer Council

    Adoption of the Agenda.

    Approval of the list of A items.

    Consumer Guarantees: General debate on Article 1-4, and possible political agreement.

    Green Paper on Food Safety: open debate.

    European Home and Leisure Accident Surveyance System (EHLASS): possible debate.

    Consumer confidence in Financial Services: Commission presentation.

    Proposed Directive to amend Product Liability Directive: Commission presentation.

    Other Business. November 5: Ecofin Council

    Approval of the Agenda.

    Approval of the list of A items.

    Employment guidelines.

    Other elements relevant for the extraordinary European Council meeting on employment (possible item).

    Other business. November 6: Social Affairs Council

    Preparation for the European Council on Employment: 21 November. November 10: Research Council

    Adoption of the agenda.

    Approval of the list of A Items (possible item).

    Fifth Research Technology Development (RTD) Framework.

    Programme: Discussion to identify Policy guidelines: Criteria.

    Scientific and Technological objectives and content.

    General objectives and Thematic Programmes.

    Horizontal theme: International co-operation.

    Horizonal theme: Innovation and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

    Horizontal theme: Improving human research potential and the Knowledge Base.


    Arrangements for financial participation.

    Fifth Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Committee (EAEC) for research and training activities: Policy debate.

    Nuclear Fusion.

    Controlled Thermo-nuclear Fusion.

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    Implementation and Management of Research Programmes.

    Proposal for a Council decision concerning the rules for participation and governing the dissemination of research results (possible item): presentation by the Commission.

    Working document on the specific programmes in the Fifth Framework Programme (possible item): Presentation by the Commission.

    Signature of the Scientific and Technological co-operation agreement with the United States (possible item).

    Other business: Eureka: Communication by the Portuguese delegation. November 10: General Affairs Council

    A Points.

    EP Resolutions.

    EU/ACP Relations: Orientation Debate.

    Agenda 2000.

    Post Amsterdam: Reports of Secretary General on: Planning Cell.

    Integration of Schengen Secretariat.

    Preparation of Special European Council on Employment.

    OCT Mid-term Review.



    Middle East Peace Process.

    Former Yugoslavia.

    Any Other Business. November 13: Industry Council

    Approval of agenda.

    Approval of the list of A Points.

    The Steel Industry: 8th Monitoring Report on aid to the Steel Industry: presentation by the Commission; Commission Communication on Financial Activities and the Expiry of the European Coal Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty: presentation by the Commission.

    Ship Building: Commission Communication towards a new ship building policy; Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing new rules on ship building: presentation by the Commission.

    State Aid: Proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the EC Treaty to certain categories of horizontal state aid (the "block exemption" regulation): orientation debate.

    Competitiveness: Presidency Note on the Future Competitiveness Work Programme "Research and Development" as a factor of competitiveness employment, to be taken over lunch with discussion based on a list of questions to be presented to Coreper on 5 November. The focus of the debate will be competitiveness not the Fifth Framework Programme.

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    Communication by the Commission: The European aerospace industry meeting the global challenge: Presentation by the Commission.

    The Information Society: Action Plan for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industries; Presentation by the Commission.

    Communication by the Commission: A European Initiative in Electronic Commerce: Draft Council Conclusions.

    SMEs: Commission Recommendation of 22 April 1997 on improving and simplifying the environment for business start-ups. Communication by the Commission: European Capital Markets SMEs: prospects and potential obstacles to progress; Presentation by the Commission. November 17-18: Agriculture Council

    Agenda not yet available. November 19: Fisheries Council (TBC)

    Agenda not yet available. November 20: Education Council

    Agenda not yet available. November 24: Culture Council

    Agenda not yet available. November 24-25: General Affairs Council

    Agenda not yet available. November 27: Budget Council

    Agenda not yet available. November 27: Internal Market Council

    Agenda not yet available. November 28: Development Council

    Agenda not yet available.

Export Forum Report

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the conclusions of the Export Forum.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Towards an Export Initiative--the report of the Export Forum--has today been published and a copy placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Export Forum was established by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in July of this year. Its remit was to examine the effectiveness of current government support for UK exporters and to make recommendations for a new export initiative.

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The forum has concluded that government has a vital and essential role to play in export promotion. It recommends that the Government could discharge this role more effectively by taking action in the following areas:

    focusing additional effort on a small number of key overseas markets, as opposed to dividing all its effort between 80 "priority markets";

    selecting these markets both with a view to the needs of the new and inexperienced exporter and with a view to helping all exporters attack difficult but promising markets where the UK is currently underperforming;

    incorporating the strengths and priorities of key sectors of UK industry into the planning process, with a better focus on service industries in particular;

    enhancing the support that it gives to UK firms seeking to invest overseas;

    ensuring greater consistency and improved quality in the export services delivered by Business Links and in the chargeable work of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Posts;

    strengthening the marketing and branding of government export support to obtain greater coherence and a more customer-friendly interface;

    making greater use of IT and the Internet in delivering services to UK exporters;

    restructuring and strengthening the British Overseas Trade Board as the Government's key advisory body on export promotion.

The Government welcome the forum's report and the thrust of its recommendations. We will be looking to respond positively in many of the areas outlined by the forum as requiring change. The Government's response in respect of the forum's recommendations will need to await the completion of the Department of Trade and Industry and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Comprehensive Spending Reviews.

Pregnant Women: Seat Belt Wearing

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether heavily pregnant women are exempt from the requirement to wear seat belts; and, if so, why.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993, SI 1993/176, determine those who are exempt from the requirement to wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle. Pregnancy, per se, is not a ground for exemption, although registered medical practitioners may issue a "Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing" if they judge it appropriate.

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