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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): As a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Kingdom has undertaken to abide by the final judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in any case to which it is party. No areas are excluded from this obligation. Where a violation is found against the United Kingdom, it is for the United Kingdom to adopt appropriate measures to rectify it, which may include legislation. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has the task of supervising the execution of judgments.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We understand the Turkish Government annulled this provision in its national regulations because it was inconsistent with the Montreux Convention. We are not aware of the introduction of any new conditions governing navigation in the straits since 6 November 1998, when the regulations were originally announced.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government have no plans to assist in obtaining scientific data on the effects of Agent Orange. The recently expanded bilateral aid programme is directed towards poverty alleviation projects rather than to scientific research.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): The Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order defines a boundary for the purposes of fisheries regulation only. As such, it has no effect on the administration of, or responsibility for, oil and gas matters, which remain reserved matters for the Westminster Parliament after 1 July 1999.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Public Health attended the Health Council on 8 June in Luxembourg, on behalf of the United Kingdom.
The Council reached political agreement on the draft recommendation on limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields. This will be adopted at a future Council, subject to the lifting of the UK's parliamentary scrutiny reserve. The Council also adopted resolutions on antibiotic resistance and on future Community action in the field of public health and held an initial exchange of views on priorities and resources for the latter. It also adopted Conclusions on health protection requirements in Community policies. The Commission reported on the progress of the European Union/United States Task Force on Communicable Diseases and on the Community's own communicable diseases surveillance network. The Commission also presented a paper on health and enlargement, following which the Council went into an informal session to which Health Ministers from the accession candidate countries had been invited. They identified common health problems, particularly increased levels of communicable diseases, smoking, and drug and alcohol misuse. In formal session again, the Commission said that publication of its report on the state of migrants' health in the Community would be delayed to include the health needs of refugees in the
Baroness Hayman: Patient and family participation in decisions about care is a key principle of palliative care. Guidelines on managing the last days of life in adults have been prepared by the National Council for Hospices and Specialist Palliative Care and have been distributed to the National Health Service. A copy has been placed in the Library. These guidelines make clear that where possible the views and feelings of patients should be sought in decisions about treatment and care. The prime aim of all treatment at this time is to control the symptoms which are distressing the patient, tailoring all therapy and care to that patient's needs.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Article 28 of Council Directive 92/12/EEC provides that sales of goods to passengers to take away on intra-EU journeys may be free of excise duty until 30 June 1999. Article 28k of Council Directive 77/388/EEC provides that these sales may be exempt from VAT until 30 June 1999. Both these directives have regard to Article 99 of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (which became Article 93 under the Amsterdam Treaty). Accordingly, the decision to end intra-EU duty free sales from 30 June 1999 is entirely consistent with Article 5 of the Treaty.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As the conclusions of the ECOFIN Council on 25 May make clear, the treatment of international bonds as provided for under the draft Directive on the taxation of savings might give rise to problems regarding the competitiveness of financial markets, in particular wholesale markets. We regard that as serious.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Veterinary staff will use their professional judgment in determining whether contamination of meat in slaughterhouses poses a risk to public health.
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