|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Vaz: European democracy is strongest in the Parliaments within the member states. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out in his Warsaw speech a new proposal for the institutional involvement of the national parliaments through delegations to a second chamber of the European parliament. We secured agreement at Nice that the role of national parliaments would be one of the agenda items for the next intergovernmental conference.
At Nice we were also successful in securing the first ever increase in the voting strength of the UK in the Council of Ministers and acceptance of the democratic principle that votes should more fairly reflect population size.
Mr. Wilson: We are currently funding, from our Human Rights Project Fund, a project carried out by a Zimbabwean NGO which is designed to offer support to victims of torture. The same NGO is also working on the prevention of torture in Zimbabwe.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what support his Department is providing to long-term relief efforts aimed at solving the refugee crisis in West Timor; and what steps are being taken to ensure a secure environment for refugees and humanitarian agencies in West Timor; 
Mr. Battle: We remain deeply concerned about the situation in the refugee camps. We maintain regular contact with UNHCR and I discussed West Timor with Mr. Lubbers, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in Geneva on 22 March. Representatives from the British Embassy in Jakarta visited West Timor on 16-17 April to assess the situation there. Acquiring information in the field strengthens HMG's ability to influence the key players towards resolving the situation. We are also encouraging the UN to keep the situation in West Timor under review, so that UN agencies can resume operations in the camps as soon as possible.
1 May 2001 : Column: 583W
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for May and the major European Union events for the period between 31 May and October. 
|11-12||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|11||Luxembourg||Employment/Social Affairs Council|
|18||Luxembourg||Fisheries Council (possible)|
|19||Luxembourg||ECOFIN Council (possible)|
|25-26||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|6-7||Brussels||Informal Employment and Social Affairs Council|
|13-14||Brussels||Regional Territories Council (Informal)?|
|16-17||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|There are no Councils scheduled for August|
|14-16||Brussels||Environment and Transport Council|
|16-18||Brussels||Agriculture (Ministerial Informal)|
|27-28||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|8||Luxembourg||Employment and Social Affairs Council|
|8-9||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|11-12||Luxembourg||Defence Council (Ministerial Informal)|
|15-16||Luxembourg||Transport and Telecommunications Council|
|29-30||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
1 May 2001 : Column: 584W
Mr. Battle: Various events are being arranged in St. Helena throughout 2002 to celebrate the quincentenary of the discovery of the island. These include sports days, carnivals, a son et lumiere and musical pageant, as well as the opening of the new museum to which we have made a financial contribution.
Mr. Wilson: The UN Secretary-General was tasked by the Security Council to appoint international observers to the Lockerbie trial. These observers, representing five organisations, were not UN observers and, as such, did not have the task of reporting to the Secretary-General.
1 May 2001 : Column: 585W
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) when he will reply to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham's letters dated 30 January, 12 February and 14 March and the letters from the Shrewsbury Chronicle dated 11 January, 15 March and 22 March concerning the "Bale Us Out" campaign about business rate relief for flooded premises; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Prescott [holding answer 2 April 2001]: The Environment Agency is investigating options for reducing the risk of flooding in Shrewsbury by the construction of flood defences to protect the vulnerable areas of the town.
The Agency is now fast-tracking this project and, subject to the usual consents, is aiming to start construction this autumn. The Agency is currently preparing an Environmental Statement and planning application.
With reference to business rate relief, as with all cases where business is disrupted, businesses can apply to the local valuation office to have their rateable value reduced while premises are affected.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his holding answer to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham of 2 April, on the Shrewsbury Chronicle's "Bale Us Out Campaign", when he will give a substantive reply to the questions. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|