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Non-EU Driving Licences

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: It depends on whether or not the non-EU licence holder is resident in the country in which the vehicle in question is registered, and whether or not the non-EU licence is recognised there for driving those vehicles. The holder of a non-European Union driving licence may drive a European Union registered light goods or public carriage vehicle in the UK as a visitor only if he is resident in the EU member state in

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which the vehicle is registered and his driving licence for the purpose of driving such vehicles is recognised there. A non-EU licence holder resident in the UK could not drive such UK-registered vehicles here because our legislation does not permit this.

West Coast Main Line Upgrade Project

Lord Cadman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the West Coast Main Line Upgrade Project will require orders under the Transport and Works Act 1992; if so, whether such orders have been applied for; and if so, how long it is envisaged before they can be granted.[HL3498]

Lord Whitty: We understand that Railtrack are preparing to apply for an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 in early 2000 to authorise all those aspects of the West Coast Main Line Upgrade Project in England for which they consider that they need to obtain statutory powers. The timescale for a decision on such an application will depend largely on the extent of objections.

Genetically Modified Plants

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who advised them that a 20-metre safe zone between genetically modified crops and other crops was sufficient; and whether these advisers remain in their employment.[HL3382]

Lord Whitty: There has been no such advice. Each application for the release of genetically modified (GM) plants for research purposes is supported by a risk assessment which is evaluated by government experts and independent scientists on the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE). Their consideration will include the possible spread of GM pollen by all means and its likely consequences. Based on the type of GM plant, how it has been modified and the circumstances of the proposed release, it may be judged necessary to minimise the potential for cross-pollination of neighbouring sexually compatible crops or wild relatives by the GM plants. The precautions taken to prevent or reduce cross-pollination include the removal of flowers, specific isolation distances between GM and non-GM plants or borders of non-GM plants around the plots of GM plants. Where isolation distances are set between genetically modified crops and conventional crops these are not intended to prevent pollen spread but to reduce pollen spread as far as is practically possible.

Museum Grants

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will give financial assistance to independent museums with designated status.[HL3272]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Designated Museums Challenge Fund, established by the

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Government, will award a total of £15 million over the next three years. The first round of grants for 1999/2000 has just been announced. These will promote excellence in research and planning, and the raising of standards in the care and presentation of designated collections.

The Jewish Museum

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will give financial assistance to the Jewish Museum when the London Borough Grants Committee's grant comes to an end in December 2000.[HL3271]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Jewish Museum, as a designated museum, will receive a grant of £50,000 as part of the first round of awards made by the Designated Museums Challenge Fund for 1999/2000. This fund, established by the Government, will award a total of £15 million to designated museums over the next three years. The grant will assist with documentation, catalogue preparation and photography of the collections, which will together form a high quality database. The Jewish Museum can expect to receive further grants in the next two years.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Restrictive Measures

Lord Islwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps have been taken to give effect to the decision by the General Affairs Council on 26 April to impose additional restrictive measures against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[HL3628]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The additional measures against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia agreed by the Council of Ministers on 26 April included:


    a travel ban on President Milosevic, his family, all Ministers/senior officials of the FRY and Serbian governments, and on persons, included in a specific list, close to the regime whose activities support President Milosevic;


    a comprehensive flight ban between the European Community and the FRY;


    extension of the scope of the freeze of funds held abroad by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbian governments to cover individuals associated with President Milosevic and companies controlled by, or acting on behalf of, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbian governments;


    prohibition of provision of export finance by the private sector further to the existing moratorium on government-financed export credits set out in Common Position 98/240 of 19 March 1998;


    extension of the investment ban set out in Council Regulation (EC) no. 1607/98;

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    widening the scope of the prohibition on the export of equipment for international repression and its extension to include goods, services, technology and equipment for the purpose of restoring/repairing assets damaged in airstrikes; Member States also agreed to discourage the participation of the FRY in international sporting events.

A Common Position (1999/318/CFSP) confirming these measures was adopted and came into force on 10 May. A Council Decision (1999/319/CFSP) listing those individuals to be covered by the travel ban was adopted and came into force the same day. Immediate steps were taken to implement the ban in the UK.

The Council adopted a Regulation (1064/1999) imposing a ban on flights between the European Community and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 21 May 1999. This entered into force the following day and repealed and replaced the provisions of Regulation No. 1901/98, as amended. The ban allows for exemptions, subject to a consultation procedure, for strictly humanitarian purposes.

On 15 June the Council of the European Union adopted a further Regulation (1294.99) concerning a freeze of funds and a ban on investment in relation to the FRY. The Regulation came into force on 19 June. The regulation provides that:


    funds held outside the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and belonging to the Government of the FRY and/or to the Government of the Republic of Serbia shall be frozen; and that


    no fund shall be made available, directly or indirectly to or for the benefit of, either or both, those governments.

For the purpose of the Regulation "Government of the FRY" and "Government of Serbia" are broadly defined to include companies, undertakings, institutions and entities owned or controlled by those governments,

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and persons acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of those governments. Annexes list individuals and companies who are deemed to fall within this definition.

The Regulation allows for certain specified exemptions.

The Regulation applies to any person who is national of a Member State, to any body which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a Member State, on board an aircraft or any vessel under the jurisdiction of a Member State and within the territory of the Community and its airspace.

The Regulation is directly applicable in the UK and repeals Regulations No. 1295/98 and No. 1607/98. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Freezing of Funds and Prohibition on Investment) Regulations 1999, which came into force on 25 June, give practical effect to the EC Regulation in the UK and provides for criminal penalties if the provisions of the EC Regulation are infringed.

The Council also decided on 26 April to widen the scope of the prohibition on the export of equipment to include provision and export of certain goods, services and technology to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to prevent the restoring/repairing assets damaged in airstrikes. In line with this decision and pending the preparation of a Regulation to implement it, the UK, while continuing to scrutinise individually all applications for licences to export dual-use goods to the FRY, has granted licences only where the goods are to be used for clearly humanitarian purposes. Following the Council decision, the Commission and member states began preparations to adopt the necessary Regulation. This work has been put on hold, following the end of NATO's military campaign against the FRY. The UK practice remains in place.

The Government has taken all necessary steps to discourage participation by teams representing the FRY in sporting events in the UK.

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