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Civil and Political Rights: International Covenant

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government's review of the United Nations Optional Protocols and Mechanisms is still under way. We hope to announce the outcome of the review by the end of the year.

General Affairs Council, 26-27 October

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: See below. General Affairs Council, 26-27 October

The General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 26-27 October adopted the A points listed in document 12161/1/98 and noted the resolutions, decisions and opinions adopted by the European Parliament in its session of 5-9 October and listed in document 11721/98. Copies of the documents listing the A points and resolutions will be placed in the House Libraries as soon as they become available. Agenda 2000

The Council considered a Presidency progress report (document 12153/98). Ministers agreed on the importance of meeting the timetable for Agenda 2000 (agreement in March 1999) Ministers also agreed that decisions on whether pre-accession funds released by the accession of new member states could be reallocated to the remaining applicant countries should be taken by qualified majority. The Council failed to agree the rate at which Community assistance should be given to pre-accession projects, but it approved Commission proposals for 100 per cent. funding of technical support projects, and for up to 2 per cent. of the budget being spent on preliminary Commission studies. There was general agreement on the management of the

2 Nov 1998 : Column WA17

agricultural and structural pre-accession instruments and the nature of the Commission's relationship with the EIB.

The Commission presented its own resources report (document 11666/98) on member states' contributions to the EC budget. It proposed various solutions to the net contribution imbalance experienced by some member states, including the option of co-financing the common agricultural policy. Enlargement

Ministers noted progress in official-level preparation of the EU's negotiating positions, ahead of substantive negotiations with the candidates at ministerial level on 10 November. EC Fraud

The Commission reported on the fraud allegations surrounding the EC Humanitarian Office. CFSP High Representative

The Presidency undertook to talk bilaterally to member states about candidates ahead of discussion at the 7 December GAC. EU/South Africa

The Council heard a report from Commissioner Pinheiro on his recent meeting with South African Trade Minister Erwin. Ministers discussed the outstanding issues in the negotiations on a trade and co-operation agreement and possible ways of reaching a satisfactory outcome by the end of the autumn. FRY/Kosovo

The Council adopted a declaration on a comprehensive approach to Kosovo. The Council condemned action by the FRY authorities against the independent media as demonstrated by the prosecution of the owner and editor of the news magazine Evropljanin and by the adoption of the new law on public information. The Council expressed its support for Montenegro. The EU will consider ways in which it can continue to support Montenegro's economy and its drive toward political and economic reform. Albania

The Council stated its support for the new Albanian government. It welcomed the International Conference in Tirana on 30 October. It agreed the EU input into the Conference. It welcomed the supplement to the WEU Feasibility Study on possible options for an International Police Operation in Albania. Middle East Peace Process

Ministers issued a declaration welcoming the Wye Agreement and congratulating Netanyahu and Arafat on their achievement. Tribute was paid to the important contributions of Clinton and Albright and to the support of King Hussein. In light of the agreement, Ministers

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discussed ways to integrate EU work in support of the peace process. Burma

The Council agreed conclusions and a Decision: (a) rolling over the EU Common Position for a further six months; (b) strengthening it by including transit visas and Burmese officials involved in tourism; (c) echoing views of Burmese democratic leaders that tourism to Burma is inappropriate at present; (d) providing for a meeting of EC/ASEAN Joint Co-operation Committee with only a passive Burmese presence. Malta

There was a brief exchange under "Other Business" concerning progress on updating the Commission's 1993 Opinion on Malta. EU/GCC Joint Council

Ministers reviewed relations between the EU and the GCC and agreed to increase the momentum of negotiations for an EC/GCC Free Trade Agreement. They discussed regional issues such as Iran, Iraq and the Middle East Peace Process and human rights. Association Council with Bulgaria

The Council considered the functioning of the Europe Agreement, and Bulgaria's preparations for EU membership.

FCO Cash and Running Cost Limits

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes they propose to make to the 1998-99 cash and running cost limits for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[HL3637]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the following changes will be made.

The cash limit for Class II, Vote 2 (Other External Relations) will be increased by £23,592,000 from £212,068,000 to £235,660,000. The increase is required to cover UK contributions to certain OSCE, United Nations and WEU missions of £23,085,000 and also for transfer of £507,000 from the Department for International Development towards the know-how fund for assistance to Central and Eastern Europe.

The increase will be offset by transfers or charged to the Reserve and will not, therefore, add to the planned total of public expenditure.

EU Council: Business for November

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for November and

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    list the major European Union events for the next six months.[HL3627]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: See below.

Monthly Forecast of Business for November 1998

DateLocationEvent
November 1998
3BrusselsConsumer Council
9BrusselsInternal Market Council
9-10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
12BrusselsHealth Council
16BrusselsIndustry Council
17BrusselsCulture Council
20BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council
23BrusselsECOFIN Council
23-24BrusselsAgriculture Council
24BrusselsBudget Council
26BrusselsYouth Council
27BrusselsTelecommunications Council
30BrusselsDevelopment Council
30-1 DecemberBrusselsTransport Council

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


    Proposal for a Council Directive on the distance selling of financial services: Commission presentation


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Decision establishing a general framework for Community activities in favour of consumers: Common position


    Consumer preparation for introduction of Euro Public debate


    Quality standards for instructions for use of technical appliances used in households: Council Resolution


    Commission information campaign on food safety: Presentation by the Commission


    Consumer dimension in the information society: Council resolution


    EURO-MED consumer conference: Commission report November 9: Internal Market Council


    Single Market Action Plan: Actualisation of the rolling programme--Updated version of the Scoreboard: Presentation by the Commission--Mutual recognition: Council resolution--Standardisation: Progress report


    Legislative simplification: SLIM initiative: Report by the Commission, evaluation debate--Simplification of national legislation: Report by the Presidency on the outcome of the conference on "Better Regulation Serves Employment"--European Business Test Panel: Report by the Commission


    Amended proposal for a Regulation on the Statute for a European Company (SE): Political agreement or progress report

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    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive amending Directive 85/374/EEC on the harmonisation of the legislations of the Member States regarding product liability: Common position


    Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No. 3259/94 laying down measures to prohibit the release for free circulation, export, re-export or entry for a suspensive procedure of counterfeit and pirated goods: Adoption


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive amending Council Directive 92/109/EEC relating to the manufacturing and placing on the market of certain substances used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances: Common position


    Follow up to the Commission communication on public procurement: Orientation debate


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the approximation of provisions relating to the implementation of Good Clinical Practice in the conduct of clinical tests on medicinal products for human use: (possible) Common position


    Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) amending Council Regulation (EC) No. 297/95 on fees payable to the European Agency for the evaluation of medicinal products: Adoption


    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on in vitro diagnostic medical devices: Common position


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society: Common position (possible item)


    Follow up to the Commission Communication on Commercial communications: Report by the Commission


    Amended proposal for a 13th Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Company Law concerning take-over bids: Common position


    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to cableway installations designed to carry passengers: Orientation debate


    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 92/23/EEC relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting: Common position


    Amended proposal for a 10th Directive of the Council based on Article 54(3)(G) of the treaty concerning cross-border mergers of public limited companies: Presentation by the Commission


    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the specific

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    aspects of the information society including electronic business communications: Presentation by the Commission


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access: Progress report


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive relating to cocoa and chocolate products intended for human consumption: Common position (Common position)


    Commission communication on the Green Paper on the general principals of food law in the European Union: Presentation by the Commission


    Proposal for a Council Directive relating to honey: Adoption (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption: Adoption (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweet chestnut puree intended for human consumption: Adoption (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive relating to certain sugars intended for human consumption: Adoption (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive relating to certain partly or wholly dehydrated preserved milk for human consumption: Adoption (possible item) November 9-10: General Affairs Council (agenda can change up to a week before)


    Agenda 2000


    Enlargement


    Comitology (possible item)


    TACIS: Orientation debate (possible item)


    Poland: Adoption of the EU position for the Association Council (possible A item)


    Hungary: Adoption of the EU position for the Association Council (possible A item)


    Czech Republic: Adoption of the EU position for the Association Council (possible A item)


    Slovenia: Adoption of the EU position for the Association (co-operation) Council (possible A item)


    Russia: Report of the EU-Russia Summit


    EU-USA: Preparation of the Summit (possible item)


    Western Balkans


    Indonesia


    Africa


    Middle East Peace Process (possible item)


    Algeria (possible item)


    Export controls: Assistance to the associated countries (possible A item)


    Preparation of the OSCE Ministerial Council

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    November 12: Health Council


    Communication from the Commission concerning the future framework for action in the public health field: Council Conclusions


    Amended proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council adopting a programme of Community action from 1999 to 2003 on injury prevention in the context of action in the field of public health: Common position


    Proposal for a Council Recommendation on limits for exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields: Progress report


    EU-US Task Force on communicable diseases: Council Conclusions following the 4th meeting on the Task Force in October


    Report from the Commission on the implementation of Directive 92/73/EEC and 92/74/EEC concerning homeopathic medicine:


    Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies: Discussion


    Progress report from the Commission on the reduction of tobacco consumption in the Community: Progress report or exchange of views (possible item) November 16: Industry Council


    Report from the Commission on the competitiveness of European Industry: Presentation


    Business services--Commission communication: Presentation


    Results of benchmarking analysis--Financing Innovation--Skills--Logistics--Adoption of ITCs and organisational change: Presentation and (possible) conclusions


    Sectorial issues and Commission communications (possible item)


    Commission communication--Competitiveness of the recycling industry: Presentation


    Mid-term work programme for the organisation of an ongoing debate on industrial competitiveness: Debate


    The follow-up of the recommendation of the BEST Task Force: Progress report


    Information of the Presidency on the results of the Forum/Roundtable in Baden: Presidency conclusions


    Results of the conference on supplier industries in Graz: Information by the Presidency


    Structured dialogue with PECOs and Cyprus: Preparation of the meeting


    Proposal for a Council Directive combating late payment in commercial transactions: Debate, (possible) adoption


    Shipbuilding--Monitoring report on aid to certain shipyards undergoing restructuring: Presentation


    State Aid: Proposal for a Council Regulation laying down detailed rules on the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty: Debate, (possible) adoption

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    10th Monitoring Report on the control of aid to the steel industry: Presentation


    Future of ECSC Treaty--Expiry of the ECSC Treaty: Commission communication--Financial activities--Non-financial Activities concerning the Steel Aid Code: (possible) Decision


    Communication from the Commission on a global approach to promote regional and social conversion and to facilitate industrial restructuring in the Central and Eastern European Countries: Presentation


    Competition policy--XXVIIth report on competition policy: Presentation


    Electronic commerce: Oral report on the Ottawa Conference: (possible) conclusions November 17: Culture Council


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council decision establishing a Community initiative for the "European City of Culture" event: (possible) Adoption or progress report


    Proposal for a European Parliament and Council decision establishing a single financing and programming instrument for cultural co-operation (1st European Community framework programme in support of culture, 2000-04): (possible) Common position or progress report


    Culture and Employment: Debate


    Cross-border fixed book prices in European linguistic areas: Report by the Commission


    Evaluation of the MEDIA II programme: Report by the Commission (possible item)


    European audiovisual sector: Presidency report


    Commission communication on the future of the audiovisual policy in the European Union: Public debate


    Consultation process regarding the Green Paper on the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors, and the implications for regulation: Report by the Commission


    Council decision on an information infrastructure on audiovisual issues: Progress report or adoption (possible item)


    High level Audiovisual Group set up by Commissioner Oreja: Report by the Commission November 20: Employment & Social Affairs Council


    Joint Employment report 1998: Debate


    Commission Draft Employment Guidelines 1999: Debate November 23: ECOFIN Council (provisional agenda)


    Preparation of Stage 3 of EMU


    Taxes


    SEM 2000/Fraud prevention--Protection of financial interests/Discharge in respect of the 1996 budget (Report from the Commission to the

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    EP)/Court of Auditors' report on the 1997 EU budget


    Employment


    Agenda 2000


    Financial services (possible item)


    Stability and convergence programmes (possible item) November 23-24 Agriculture Council


    Agenda not yet available November 24: Budget Council (provisional agenda)


    Draft general budget for the financial year 1999 (possibly) Draft supplementary and amending Budget for 1998 November 26: Youth Council


    Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Community action programme for youth: Common position or progress report


    Pilot project on European voluntary service for young people: Report by the Commission November 27: Telecommunications Council


    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic signature: (possible) Common position. Political agreement on Articles (possible)


    Convergence of telecommunication sectors, media and information technologies: Relementary implications: Commission communication on the result of consultations and exchange of views


    Globalisation and information society: Strengthening of the international co-ordination: Progress report


    Commission communication on a Community policy in the field of frequencies: Presentation by the Commission


    Proposals for Decisions concerning a second phase for IDA programme: Orientation debate and (possible) political agreement on 1 of 2 Decisions


    Commission communication on the implementation of the relevant Community legislation on telecommunication: Presentation by the Commission


    Management of the Internet: Progress report November 30: Development Council


    Peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution


    Tourism and development


    Operational co-ordination


    Evaluation


    Indigenous peoples


    Microfinance and development


    Anti-personnel mines

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    Private sector in ACP countries


    Decentralised co-operation--NGO co-financing


    Gender


    Democratisation and Human Rights--Article 130W--Article 235


    Renegotiation Food Aid Convention 1995


    Co-ordination with a view to meetings of the WFP Executive Board. November 30/December 1: Transport Council


    Proposal for a Council directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures: (possible) adoption of a common position


    Negotiations between the European Community and Switzerland on inland and air transport: Progress report/conclusion


    Framework for a solution for the environmental problems caused by heavy goods vehicles: Policy debate, Commission communication expected (possible item)


    Proposal to amend Regulation 3820/85 concerning working time in road transport: Policy debate, Commission proposal expected (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 92/106/EEC on the establishment of common rules for certain types of combined transport of goods between Member States and amending Council Directive 96/53/EEC, as far as the maximum authorised weights in international traffic are concerned: (possible) Common position (possible item)


    Rail infrastructure: Policy debate/(possible) common position on specific directives (possible item)


    Commission communication on the interoperability in conventional rail transport: Policy debate (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 82/714/EEC laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels: Policy debate


    Implementation of Decision 1692/96 (Ten-Guidelines): Policy debate, Commission report expected (possible item)


    Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA): Policy debate, Commission report expected (possible item)


    Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 94/55/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by road: Policy debate


    Commission Communication on common policy on manning of regular passenger and ferry services operating between Member States--Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3577/92 of 7 December 1992 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States--

2 Nov 1998 : Column WA26

    Proposal for a Council Directive on manning conditions for regular passenger and ferry services operating between Member States: Policy debate and (possible) Common position


    Proposal concerning the RO-RO ferries: (possible) Common position


    EU/US aviation relations--policy debate


    Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No. 295/91 establishing common rules for a denied-boarding compensation system in scheduled air transport: Common position


    Green paper "Civil aviation and the environment": Policy debate (possible item)


    Commission communication on air transport market: Policy debate

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: November 1998-April 1999

DateLocationEvent
November 1998
3BrusselsPolitical Committee
3BrusselsConsumer Council
3-4ViennaEU/SADC Ministerial Meeting
3-4ViennaDefence Ministers (Informal)
4-5BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
9BrusselsInternal Market Council
9BrusselsPolitical Committee
9-10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
12BrusselsHealth Council
16BrusselsIndustry Council
16-20StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
17BrusselsCulture Council
19BrusselsPolitical Committee (if necesssary)
20BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council
23BrusselsECOFIN Council
23-24 BrusselsAgriculture Council
24BrusselsBudget Council
26BrusselsYouth Council
26BrusselsPolitical Committee
27BrusselsTelecommunications Council
30BrusselsDevelopment Council
30-1 DecemberBrusselsTransport Council
December 1998
1BrusselsECOFIN Council
1BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs and ECOFIN Council
1ViennaParliamentary Heads
2BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council
2-3BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
3-4BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs
4BrusselsEducation Council
7BrusselsPolitical Committee
7-8BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
10BrusselsResearch Council
11ViennaPolitical Committee
11-12ViennaEuropean Council
14-16BrusselsAgriculture Council
14-18StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
15BrusselsEnergy Council
17-18BrusselsFisheries Council
21BrusselsEnvironment Council
January 1999
1BrusselsECOFIN
11-15StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
14BrusselsFisheries Council (possible)
18BrusselsAgriculture Council
18BrusselsECOFIN
19BrusselsAgriculture Council
25BrusselsPolitical Committee
25-26BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
27-28BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
February 1999
4-6BonnMinisters for Labour & Social Affairs (Informal)
8BrusselsECOFIN
8-12StransbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
11-12BerlinMinisters for Justice & Home Affairs (Informal)
18BrusselsResearch Council (possible)
22BrusselsPolitical Committee
22-23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
22-23BrusselsAgriculture Council
24-25BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
25BrusselsInternal Market
March 1999
9BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council
11-12BrusselsEnvironment Council
12BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council (possible)
13-14ReinhartshausenForeign Ministers (Informal)
15BrusselsECOFIN
15-16BrusselsAgriculture Council
22BrusselsPolitical Committee
22-23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
24-25BrusselsSpecial European Council (possible)
24-25FrankfurtAsia-Europe Finance Ministers
25BrusselsFisheries Council
29BrusselsTransport Council
29-30BerlinAsia-Europe Foreign Ministers
April 1999
13LuxembourgConsumer Affairs Council
15-16StuttgartBarcelona III
16-18DresdenECOFIN (Informal)
19-20LuxembourgAgriculture Council
22LuxembourgTelecommunications Council
23-25MecklenburgEnvironment Ministers (Informal)
24-25LuxembourgNATO Summit
26-27LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
29LuxembourgIndustry Council

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