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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Vienna European Council endorsed a report by ECOFIN on the external representation of the Community. The ECOFIN report makes clear that this agreement is to be used as a basis for negotiation with international parties and is limited to "issues of particular relevance to EMU".
The Government's position is set out in the Explanatory Memorandum of 27 November 1998 on a related Commission proposal (document 12815/87 COM(1998) 637). The United Kingdom will continue to have its own seat at the G7 and other fora as will France, Germany and Italy.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: There have been no specific discussions between Her Majesty's Government and the International Monetary Fund on the impact of policy towards Korea on investments in Northern Ireland. The UK fully supports the IMF programme for South Korea, which should help restore that country to a healthy growth path. Economic recovery will boost Korean overseas investment, including that which is directed towards Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Baroness Amos: The Country Policy Plan (CPP) negotiations took place on Montserrat between 16 and 20 November between a joint DFID/FCO team and the Government of Montserrat (GoM). My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has today in Montserrat formally signed the agreement with Chief Minister Brandt.
The CPP sets out (a) GoM's commitment to open and transparent government and to key democratic principles and (b) the general principles guiding HMG's relations with its overseas territories and specific commitments to Montserrat, including the £75 million available through DFID's bilateral programme for the period 1998-99 to 2000-01.
The CPP contains a series of policy matrices which set out objectives and timebound actions for each sector. These include both the commitment to implement existing policies and to take decisions on outstanding policy issues. The most important include: social sectors--implementation of a social welfare review to improve the targeting and delivery of support to the neediest and review of the case for restoration of post-secondary and vocational education on the basis of the population on-island; public administration--a job evaluation exercise and review of terms and conditions of service for completion by early 2000 to improve recruitment and retention of staff with marketable skills; public finance--a review of the tax incentive regime in 1999 to ensure an appropriate balance between providing incentives for private sector activity and maintaining an adequate revenue base; infrastructure--agreement on provision of a fixed wing airlink facility in 1999; productive sectors--a business opportunity survey to improve the information available to potential investors.
All policy matrices are consistent with the HMG/GoM Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) and with the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) which forms part of the CPP and sets out ongoing and possible new projects for the period 1998 to 2000.
The draft PSIP is costed at EC$372 million (£85 million). After deduction of other donor, funded projects, the total of projects earmarked for DFID is £82 million. This is consistent with the £75 million resource envelope, as a degree of over-planning is necessary to ensure full use of the resources. The draft PSIP does not yet take account of all of the EDF resources that will become available in 1999, which will be subject to separate negotiations later this year.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary (Commons) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food represented the United Kingdom at a meeting of the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels on 17 and 18 December. My noble friends Lord Sewel, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office, and Lord Dubs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, were also present.
The Council agreed unanimously, with Italy abstaining, the total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas to apply in 1999 in Community waters. Details of the final TACs are in the following table. In some cases there are significant reductions compared with 1998; in other cases, the final figures are higher than the Commission's proposals or the 1998 TACs; in all cases, the UK sought a balance between the need to be cautious in the management of stocks for their long-term benefit and the need to take account of the practical realities for fishermen and short-term socio-economic pressures on them. At the end of the negotiations, the total UK quotas agreed were some 57,000 tonnes higher in cod equivalent terms than the quotas being discussed at the start of the negotiations. This increase is worth some £30 million to the industry, although overall there has been a net year-on-year reduction in fishing opportunities in order to conserve stocks for the future.
A particularly welcome part of the package was the securing of additional quota to catch haddock in the Irish Sea, reflecting the upsurge of fish in this area. As a result of close co-operation with the Irish Republic, we secured an additional 2,400 tonnes of quota for UK Irish sea fishermen which will be especially beneficial in Northern Ireland.
We were also very pleased to secure as part of the package the separation of the small Shetland coastal sandeel fishery from the North Sea sandeel TAC and helpful Commission statements on two UK initiatives: a Commission commitment to propose the introduction of a new TAC for dogfish and a commitment to respond to concern about the effects of sandeel fishing on birds and other wildlife.
Separately from the main TACs package, the Council agreed by qualified majority, with Italy and Greece opposed, 1999 TACs for bluefin tuna and swordfish. These retain small unallocated quotas to cover incidental by-catches by the UK and other northern countries.
Following the substantial progress made at its last meeting, the Council unanimously adopted a regulation amending fisheries control and enforcement rules. These will strengthen control arrangements throughout the fisheries sector in line with UK objectives, including more effective monitoring of third country vessels, improved transparency of enforcement activity, increased co-operation among member states and reinforcement of the UK's national rules on designated ports.
The Council agreed by qualified majority, with Belgium, France and Spain voting against, some limited amendments to 1998 autonomous tariff quotas and tariff suspensions for 1999. These measures help to maintain the competitiveness of the processing industry by giving them access, at reduced rates of duty, to raw material that Community fishermen cannot supply.
|Stock||1998 TAC||1999 TAC||Gain/Loss|
|Sandeels IIa, IV||1,000,000||1,000,000||0|
|Herring I, II||1,300,000||1,300,000||0|
|Herring IVa, b||229,000||240,000||5|
|Herring IVc, VIId||25,000||25,000||0|
|Herring Vb, VIaN, VIb||80,370||68,000||-15|
|Herring VIa (Clyde)||1,000||1,000||0|
|Herring VIIe, f||1,000||1,000||0|
|Herring IIa, IV Ind. by-catch||22,000||30,000||36|
|Cod IIa, IV||140,000||132,400||-5|
|Cod Vb, VI, XII, XIV||11,000||11,800||7|
|Cod VIIb-k, VIII, IX, X||20,000||19,000||-5|
|Megrim IIa, IV||3,000||3,000||0|
|Megrim Vb, VI, XII, XIV||4,840||4,840||0|
|Dab & Flounder IIa, IV||30,070||30,070||0|
|Anglers IIa, IV||22,070||22,070||0|
|Anglers Vb, VI, XII, XIV||8,600||8,600||0|
|Haddock IIa, IV||115,000||88,550||-23|
|Haddock Vb, VI, XII, XIV||25,700||19,000||-26|
|Haddock VII, VIII, IX, X||20,000||22,000||10|
|Whiting IIa, IV||60,000||44,000||-27|
|Whiting Vb, VI, XII, XIV||9,000||6,300||-30|
|Hake IIa, IV||2,070||1,930||-7|
|Hake Vb, VI, VII, XII, XIV||33,160||30,910||-7|
|Lemon sole & witch IIa, IV||12,000||12,000||0|
|Blue whiting IIa NS||90,000||90,000||0|
|Nephrops IIa, IV||15,200||15,200||0|
|Nephrops Vb, VI||12,600||12,600||0|
|Plaice IIa, IV||87,000||102,000||17|
|Plaice Vb, VI, XII, XIV||2,400||2,400||0|
|Plaice VIId, e||5,700||7,400||30|
|Plaice VIIf, g||1,100||900||-18|
|Plaice VIIh, j, k||1,350||1,350||0|
|Pollack Vb, VI, XII, XIV||1,100||1,100||0|
|Saithe IIa, IIIb, c, d, IV||97,000||110,000||13|
|Saithe Vb, VI, XII, XIV||10,900||7,500||-31|
|Saithe VII, VIII, IX, X||8,800||8,800||0|
|Turbot & brill IIa, IV||9,000||9,000||0|
|Skates & rays IIa, IV||6,060||6,060||0|
|Mackerel IIa(EC), III, IV||62,455||62,455||0|
|Mackerel IIa (nonEC), Vb, VI, VII, VIIIa, b, d, e, XII, XIV||422,160||422,160||0|
|Sole II, IV||19,100||22,000||15|
|Sole Vb, VI, XII, XIV||155||155||0|
|Sole VIIf, g||850||960||13|
|Sole VIIh, j, k||720||720||0|
|Sprat IIa, IV||150,000||175,000||17|
|Sprat VIId, e||12,000||12,000||0|
|Horse mackerel IIa, IV||60,000||60,000||0|
|Horse mackerel Vb, VI, VII, VIIIa, b, d, e, XII, XIV||320,000||265,000||-17|
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