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Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, is the Minister aware that both the current report of the World Bank and the recently published transition report of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development aver that the rule of law, the creation of a civic society and the tackling of extreme inequities in wealth and income are crucial to the economic success of these countries? Can the noble Lord assure the House that the British aid programme will reflect the importance of the political and civic dimension of transition as well as the importance of the creation of fresh and free markets?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, very much so. The direct British contribution to eastern and central Europe has

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been built substantially around the know-how fund which is designed for public administration and private business development and professionalism. It is very important that those cadres are developed and that the understanding of democratic and judicial procedures in those countries matches up with that of western Europe as part of the preparation for accession to the European Union. Certainly, that, together with the development of market economies, is central to our relationship with those countries.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I welcome the Government's response to the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, that they will ensure that the agreement that I gained from the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer will continue under this Government. Can the Minister inform the House whether the Government plan to continue the most successful use of British development funds for small business development? This has benefited eastern and central Europe and it is wanted in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the rest of the world, but I do not see even a reference to it in the White Paper.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, we shall continue some of those programmes. As the noble Baroness will be aware from reading the White Paper, there has been a review of all the programmes. The objective is to assess the degree to which they contribute to the elimination of poverty in those countries. The importance of creating effective indigenous business remains part of our development strategy.

The Earl of Carlisle: My Lords, does the noble Lord agree that the know-how fund's contribution to eastern Europe has not been overgenerous? I refer in particular to the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Further, does the noble Lord agree that any further decline may lead to a loss of confidence in those developing nations and send the wrong signal to Moscow?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I do not agree that the Government have been ungenerous. One of our major contributions has been that to eastern and central Europe. There is always a possibility that if help from western Europe and other aid organisations to eastern Europe begins to falter or is seen to falter, confidence in the process of democratisation and access to the European Union may itself falter. However, we and our European partners are committed to ensuring that that does not happen. A major feature of the British presidency of the EU is that all countries of eastern and central Europe, whether or not they are in the first wave of accession, should benefit from continued help to develop both their economies and their democracies.

Lord Bridges: My Lords, is there not a case for re-examining the accounting convention by which our payments to the European Development Fund are debited to the Overseas Aid Department? Should this

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sum of money not be regarded more in the nature of a subscription to the European Community as we are not able to monitor it as effectively as we would like?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, there are monitoring procedures within the European Union and we are concerned to improve them. Approximately half of our development expenditure takes place through various forms of bilateral agencies. In the case of the EU, the World Bank and others, the expenditures are mandatory and in that sense the noble Lord is correct. However, they are and will increasingly be subject to scrutiny and audit to ensure that they achieve the objectives that we set out in the White Paper, which we hope apply to EU funds as much as to national funds.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, the noble Lord's right honourable friend said in another place yesterday that she recognised the manifest inefficiency of the European aid effort and intended that this country should do something about it when it has the presidency next year. Will he name one practical, specific improvement that this country intends to make to the European aid effort which will have such an effect, or has he just hand-waving and pious hopes to offer?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, there are, rightly, some anxieties about parts of the European aid programme. As I said, we intend to improve the audit of its effectiveness. We are working for the greater involvement of British expertise in the management committees and working groups which oversee those programmes. We want more effective contact between UK and Commission experts, and secondment of expert UK staff to the Commission, and collaboration with recipient countries than has sometimes been the case under the European programme. However, that does not justify the claim that EU aid in general is inefficient. There are some concerns, and those will be addressed, as my right honourable friend said.

Share Fishing

3.40 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to encourage and support the system of share fishing now widespread among the larger vessels in the British fishing fleet.

Lord Carter: My Lords, Her Majesty's Government recognise the valuable contribution that share fishermen make to the UK fishing industry and the great challenges fishermen face in providing regular supplies of healthy food for the nation. We will continue to take account of share fishermen's unique employment status and recognise that any new working time measures should reflect the special nature of their working practices.

Lord Campbell of Croy: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply and for the written reply last

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week on the European Commission's latest attempt to include British fishermen in its working time restrictions. Will the Government now press upon the Commission that those restrictions are wholly inappropriate for self-employed share fishermen, who, unlike their counterparts in other European fleets, do not have employers, employees or trade unions, and that fishermen's working time is governed by the weather and the fish, which do not observe regular timetables in their habits?

Lord Carter: My Lords, the noble Lord is correct. The European Commission published a White Paper in July in which it dealt with what are called "excluded sectors" from the working time directive, which of course includes fishermen. It is still not clear whether it is proposed to extend working time controls to share fishermen, because, as the noble Lord said, they are different from employed fishermen. It may be helpful to quote from the Commission's White Paper. Under "Criteria for Action", it states:

    "The criteria should not place unreasonable burdens on firms, in particular small firms, and should take account of specific characteristics of the sectors such as share fishing".

So the problem is recognised.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: My Lords, if they have not already done so, what steps will the Government take to put an end to the wicked and wasteful practice of discarding fish surplus to the allowable catch?

Lord Carter: My Lords, the noble Lady is correct. Her question is a little wide of the Question on the Order Paper, but in the reform to the CFP which we propose we are intent to ensure that that problem is dealt with. Perhaps I may make a remark that I have not made before--but the CFP makes the CAP look like a beacon of sweet reason and light.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, may I assume that the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, is on a fact-finding mission on a fishing vessel so that he can learn, as my noble friend Lord Campbell of Croy said, that one cannot impose on a fishing fleet the kind of working time directive that one can on land-based organisations? Will the Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms assure me that the Government will stand firm with other European member states with large fishing industries against applying that directive to fishing? Will he further assure me that, if that does not succeed, we shall stand firm on the basis that share fishermen are clearly self-employed?

Lord Carter: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. I am in fact the departmental Whip for MAFF, as I think he knows, which is why I am answering the Question. The first point about sea fishermen is correct. The working time directive will apply to sea fishermen. It is equally clear that a great deal of negotiation is needed before there is any chance of it being applied to share

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fishermen. I quoted the White Paper. We are not the only country concerned, and we are clear about the problems that would be faced were the directive to be applied.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, if, as my noble friend said, the CAP is a beacon of light compared with the CFP, would it not be wise and better for us to repatriate the CFP and perhaps also the CAP?

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