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25 Feb 1999 : Column WA125

Written Answers

Thursday, 25th February, 1999.

NATO Dialogue with Mediterranean Partners

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proposals they will make at the April 1999 NATO Summit Meeting in Washington for the alliance to enhance the quality of its Mediterranean dialogue, with particular reference to future risks from weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles and terrorism.[HL981]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): NATO's member states and Mediterranean partners are free to raise any issue which can further security and stability in the Mediterranean region, including weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles and terrorism. The Washington Summit will consider proposals to increase the frequency of multilateral and bilateral contacts between NATO and its Mediterranean partners and to expand the range of military activities in the work programme.

Gibraltar: British Residents

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many British citizens are currently resident in Gibraltar.[HL1020]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: According to the latest available figures (1997) there are 24,787 British nationals resident in Gibraltar.

EU Enlargement

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 9 February (H.L. Deb., cols. 100-101), whether they have carried out any objective research as to whether it would be in the interests of the Central and Eastern European countries to have full membership of the European Union; and (b) whether in so doing they have considered the arguments advanced in the book, The Poisoned Chalice.[HL1073]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Enlargement is in the interest of the whole of Europe, including the current member states and the applicant states. It will not only reinforce peace, stability, democracy and freedom, but create the largest single market for trade and investment in the world. But, as I underlined in the Lords on 9 February, it is for the applicants themselves

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to judge if it is in their interest to join the European Union. The current applicant states have judged in favour of accession to the European Union. We are confident that the benefits of enlargement will significantly outweigh the costs.

Publications like A Coming Home or a Poisoned Chalice have helpfully identified a number of the practical difficulties that will need to be addressed to make enlargement a success. We do not share the authors' pessimism about the enlargement process, but accept the necessity of avoiding any kind of second class of membership and of dealing with EU reforms before the first accessions.

International Conflict: Causes

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on 26 November 1998 (H.L. Deb., cols. 196 and 220-230), whether they consider that conflict is more likely to be provoked (a) by democratic nations, or (b) within conglomerations of disparate states, especially when the ties which have bound them together are loosened.[HL1074]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The causes of conflict are varied and complex. However, the Government believe that violent conflict is inherently less likely to be provoked within, by or between democratic countries. This is one of the reasons why the Government attach importance to their work, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, to build and strengthen democratic values and institutions.

Malacca Strait: Chinese Military Activity

Lord Birdwood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received any information on increased Chinese military activity near the Malacca Strait.[HL1076]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are not aware of any increased military activity by China near the Malacca Strait.

British Council Grants to Artists Scheme

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the amount of funding of the British Council's Grants to Artists Scheme for each of the financial years 1988-89 to 1997-98.[HL1075]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Figures for the amount of funding for the British Council's Grants to Artists Scheme for the years requested are only readily available from Financial Year 1993-94. The figures from that year to 1997-98 are as follows:

1993-94: £54,434

1994-95: £98,480

1995-96: £85,665

1996-97: £127,568

1997-98: £120,618

Turkey

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was their response to the appeal to all European governments by the Prime Minister of Italy urging them to seek a peaceful political solution to the long-standing war in south-east Turkey and adjoining areas.[HL994]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer the noble Lord to the Answers I gave in the House on 3 December 1998 in reply to questions from the noble Lords, Lord Rea and Lord Hylton (H.L. Deb., cols. 598-600).

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they will take in the Council of Europe if the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Loizidou v. Turkey is not enforced.[HL995]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Responsibility for implementing the judgment in Loizidou v. Turkey lies with Turkey. We take such responsibilities seriously, as with all obligations in the Council of Europe, and expect other members to do likewise. We have reminded Turkey in the Committee of Ministers of these responsibilities, most recently on 9 February, and will continue to do so. We have made clear to Turkey the need to respect the Court's judgment. Turkey has confirmed its wish to uphold the authority of the European Court of Human Rights.

Togo: Banning of Female Genital Mutilation

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make an official response to the Government of Togo on their campaign (including a legal ban) against female genital mutilation.[HL1013]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: This Government welcome the Government of Togo's initiative to abolish female genital mutilation and will be following it up with the Togolese authorities. We regularly look for opportunities to condemn this custom, which we see as a form of violence against women and an abuse of human rights. We are actively supporting programmes which work towards the eradication of this practice.

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Gibraltar: Fishing Agreement

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will outline the agreement, made in October 1998, between the Spanish Foreign Minister and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, regarding fishing within British sovereign waters in the Bay of Gibraltar and ratified by the Prime Minister and the Spanish Prime Minister.[HL1053]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: On 5 October 1998, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary reached an understanding with the Spanish Foreign Minister on the situation that prevailed in British waters around Gibraltar from 1991-97, when fishing took place in moderation and the fisherman respected the authority of the Gibraltar law enforcement agencies. They agreed that we should revert to that situation.

Anglo-Spanish Ministerial Meetings

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the dates for the forthcoming meetings between the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Spanish Foreign Minister and likewise the date for the proposed meeting between the Prime Minister and the Spanish Prime Minister.[HL1054]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign Secretary met the Spanish Foreign Minister on 21 February. They agreed that officials would meet to prepare for a further meeting. No dates have been fixed, although the two Ministers see each other regularly in the course of EU business.

The Prime Minister hopes to see the Spanish Prime Minister on 25 February in Germany in the context of the informal meeting of Heads of Government to discuss Agenda 2000.

European Union: Forthcoming Council Business

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for March; and list the major European Union events for the next six months.[HL1258]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: See below.

Monthly Forecast of Business: March 1999

DateLocationEvent
March 1999
4BrusselsPolitical Committee
8-12StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
9BrusselsSocial Affairs Council
11-12BrusselsEnvironment Council
12BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council
13-14ReinhartshausenForeign Ministers (Informal)
15BrusselsECOFIN
15-16BrusselsAgriculture Council
22BrusselsPolitical Committee
22-23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
24-25BerlinSpecial European Council
26BrusselsK4 Committee
22-23BrusselsEuropean Parliamentary Plenary
29BrusselsTransport Council
29-30BerlinAsia-Europe Foreign Ministers
30BrusselsFisheries Council
The following subjects are likely to be discussed:
4BrusselsPolitical Committee
No agenda yet available
8-12StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
No agenda yet available
9BrusselsSocial Affairs Council
Dialogue with acceding countries on social issues
Directive on employee involvement in the Societe Europeen
Political agreement
Decision on the Standing Committee on Employment
Adoption
Code of Conduct on co-operation between authorities in the case of transnational hiring-out of workers and combating benefit fraud and illegal work
Adoption of Resolution
Proposal for Directives on the organisation of working time:
Progress report from the Presidency
11-12BrusselsEnvironment Council
Proposal for a Council Directive on end-of-life vehicles:
Common position
Amended proposal for a Council Directive establishing a framework for Community action in the field of auto policy:
Common position
Community strategy on climate change:
Council conclusions
Preparation of the 7th session of the Commission on Sustainable development (CSD) (19-30 April 1999):
Council conclusions
Proposal for a Council regulation allowing voluntary participation by organisations in a community eco-management and audit system:
Policy debate
Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 88/609/EEC:
Policy debate
Incineration Directives:
Policy debate
Commission report on progress in accession negotiations in the environment sector:
Commission report
12BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council (Possible)
Adoption of the agenda
Europol, pension fund
Europol activities report 1998
Europol: draft Council act adopting the rules governing the transmission of personal data by Europol to 3rd states and 3rd bodies
Europol: draft decision of the Council instructing Europol to deal with forgery of money and means of payments
Europol: preparation of the taking-up of activities
EURODAC: draft Council act drawing up a protocol extending the scope ratione personae of the Convention concerning the establishment of "EURODAC" for the comparison of fingerprints of applicants for asylum
Drugs: decision on MBDB
Joint position on the EU-Convention on organised crime
Draft explanatory report on the Second Protocol to the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests
Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters
Questions relating to the transition from the Maastricht to the Amsterdam treaty with regard to conventions
Revision of the Conventions of Brussels and Lugano
Information on some ongoing activities in the field of internal market and consumer protection
Preparation of the meeting with CEECs and Cyprus
Definition and integration of the Schengen Aquis (information by the Presidency)
Any other business
13-14ReinhartshausenForeign Ministers (Informal)
No Formal Agenda
15BrusselsECOFIN
AGENDA 2000
Financial Framework
Institutional agreement
Report on own resources
(Possible) Stability and Growth pack:
examination of stability and convergence programmes
Report of the European Court of Auditors for the financial year 1997:
Presentation of report
Recommendation on discharge and statement of assurance
Follow-up to Vienna European Council:
Duty Free Sales
(Possible) Taxes:
Taxation of interest income
Interim report on the discussions with third countries
Energy taxation
Progress report
(Possible) Euro 11
Multilateral monitoring and co-ordination of economic policy
15-16BrusselsAgricultural Council
No agenda yet available
22BrusselsPolitical Committee
22-23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
Agenda 2000: Preparation of Special European Council (24 and 25 March, Brussels)
(Possible) Enlargement
Common Strategies
Mediterranean policy:
Situation/Prospect of TEP negotiations
EU-Latin America Summit:
Progress of preparations
EU-ASEAN relations:
Preparation of meeting of Foreign Ministers (25 March)
ASEM
Preparation of meeting of Foreign Ministers (30 March)
Western Balkans
European security and defence policy
24-25BerlinSpecial European Council
Agenda not yet available
24-25BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
Agenda not yet available
29BrusselsTransport Council
Land Transport
Proposals for Council Directive amendments:
Policy debate
Proposal for the amendment of:
Directive 92/106/EEC & 96/53
Political agreement
Communication on the organisation of working time in the sectors and activities excluded from Directive 93/104/EC
Policy debate
Commission report on the use of buses and coaches of up to 15 metres in length
Council conclusions
Possible agreement on the transits of lorries through Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria
Political agreement on the draft text
Air Transport
Mandate for the revision of the Warsaw convention on uniform rules on the transport of cargo in international air transport
Agreement on the granting of the mandate to the Commission
Proposal for a regulation amending Regulation 295/91
Adoption of the common position
Commission report on air transport and environment
Debate
All Transport Modes
Report on a proposal for the amendment of Decision 1692/96/EC
Debate
Global navigation satellite system (GNSS)
Commission proposal expected at the beginning of 1999--debate
Negotiations between the EC and Switzerland on land and air transport
Conclusion of the agreement
Political agreement on the implementation of the agreement
29-30BerlinAsia-Europe Foreign Ministers
Agenda not yet available
30BrusselsFisheries Council
Proposal for Council regulation laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding community structural assistance in the fisheries sector
Policy debate
Proposal for a Council regulation establishing a list of serious infringements in the context of the control system (Regulation (EEC) 2847/93) applicable to the common fishery policy
Policy debate
Proposals to amend Council regulation (EC) 850/96
Final adoption
Proposals opening and providing for the administration of autonomous community tariff quotas for certain fisheries products
Final adoption
Proposal for a Council Regulation on the collection of basic fisheries data
Presentation by the Commission and initial debate

25 Feb 1999 : Column WA132

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: March-August 1999

DateLocationEvent
March 1999
4BrusselsPolitical Committee
8-12StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
9BrusselsSocial Affairs Council
11-12BrusselsEnvironment Council
12BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council
13-14ReinhartshausenForeign Ministers (informal)
15BrusselsECOFIN
15-16BrusselsAgriculture Council
22BrusselsPolitical Committee
22-23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
22-23BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
24-25BerlinSpecial European Council
26BrusselsK4 Committee
29BrusselsTransport Council
29-30BerlinAsia-Europe Foreign Ministers
30BrusselsFisheries Council
April 1999
8BrusselsPolitical Committee
12-16StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
13LuxembourgConsumer Affairs Council
15-16StuttgartEuro-Med Foreign Ministers Conference "Barcelona III"
16-18DresdenECOFIN (informal)
19-20LuxembourgAgriculture Council
20BrusselsPolitical Committee
22LuxembourgTelecommunications Council
23-25MecklenburgEnvironment Ministers (Informal) (TBC)
24-25LuxembourgNATO Summit
26LuxembourgPolitical Committee
26-27LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
29LuxembourgIndustry Council
29-30BrusselsK4 Committee
May 1999
3-7StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
6-7BerlinPolitical Committee
6BrusselsEU-ACP Ministerial meeting
7-9MecklenburgEnvironment Ministers (informal) (TBC)
10BrusselsECOFIN
10BremenWEU Council
10-11BerlinTrade Ministers (informal)
11BrusselsEnergy Council
17BrusselsK4 Committee
17BrusselsPolitical Committee
17-18BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
17-18BrusselsAgriculture Council
18BrusselsEEA Council
18BrusselsCo-operation Council with Russia
18-19WeimarCulture Ministers (informal)
20BrusselsResearch Council
21BrusselsDevelopment Council
25BrusselsJoint ECOFIN and Labour & Social Affairs Council
25BrusselsSocial Affairs Council
25BrusselsPolitical Committee
27BrusselsYouth Council
27-28BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council
31BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
30 May-1 JuneDresdenAgriculture Ministers (informal)
June 1999
1DresdenAgriculture Ministers (informal)
3-4CologneEuropean Council
7LuxembourgEducation Council
8LuxembourgHealth Council
10BrusselsPolitical Committee
10Luxembourg Fisheries Council
10-13European Parliament Elections
14LuxembourgECOFIN (possible)
14-15LuxembourgAgriculture Council
14-15BrusselsK4 Committee
17BonnEU-Japan Summit
17-18LuxembourgTransport Council
18-20CologneG8
21LuxembourgInternal Market
21BonnEU/USA/Canada Summit
21-22LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
22LuxembourgLabour & Social Affairs Council (possible)
24-25LuxembourgEnvironment Council
25-29Rio de JaneiroEU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit
28LuxembourgCulture Council
29BrusselsPolitical Committee (possible)
July 1999
2-3OuluIndustry and Research Ministers (informal)
6-7SavonlinnaCulture Ministers
8HameenlinnaPolitical Committee
9-10OuluLabour/Social Affairs Ministers (informal)
12BrusselsECOFIN
16BrusselsBudget
16-18HelsinkiEnvironment Ministers (informal)
18-20SavonlinnaCulture/Audiovisual Ministers (informal)
19BrusselsPolitical Committee
19-20BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
20-23StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
22-23HelsinkiK4 Committee
August 1999
No Council Business

25 Feb 1999 : Column WA133


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