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Mr. Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many legislative measures have been enacted in the UK to implement European Union legislation in each year since 1992. 
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The picture is complicated. Some EC measures are directly applicable in the member states. Others require incorporation into national law. This is sometimes done by legislation, but on other occasions by administrative means. In yet other situations, domestic legislation which is being amended for other purposes, may also incorporate changes to reflect EU directives. This makes it extremely difficult to determine how many legislative measures have been introduced in the UK as a result of EC measures.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of the General Affairs Council held on 9th December; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I represented the UK at the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on December 9 and 10. Conclusions were agreed by consensus and no formal votes were taken.
The Council took stock of proceedings in other Council settings on the basis of the customary Presidency report. Regarding Justice and Home Affairs, particular attention was drawn to the Council's approval on 28 and 29 November of four negotiating mandates on readmission agreements with Albania, Algeria, China and Turkey and the EU Plan for Return to Afghanistan. The ECOFIN Council's approval of the 2003 draft budget was also highlighted.
The Council discussed the way forward for concluding accession negotiations with the candidate countries at the Copenhagen European Council on 12 and 13 December. The Presidency presented the results of informal consultations with the candidate countries, which, aided by the Commission, had led to 'packages' being put together for each country. The Council decided that negotiating issues concerning the global amount (including the financial consequences of the agricultural quota proposals) as well as the question of direct income support in agriculture, be submitted to the European Council in Copenhagen, with a view to finalising the Union position. Solutions proposed by the Presidency on all other matters were accepted by the Council. Member states considered the Presidency's offer extremely generous and noted that the Council could go no further.
The Council noted a Presidency report on the use of languages in the Council, in the context of an enlarged Union. The Council agreed that the report would be forwarded to the European Council in Copenhagen and that work would continue on the basis of the conclusions set out by the Presidency in the report.
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Annotated draft agenda of the European Council
The European Council will focus on two items: enlargement (the completion of the first stage of the enlargement process and the conclusion of negotiations with ten candidate countries; the adoption of an enhanced accession strategy for Bulgaria and Romania including revised roadmaps and increased pre-accession assistance; and the next steps concerning Turkey's candidature); and the functioning of the Council in view of enlargement (with a discussion on the initial report by the Danish Presidency on the Presidency of the Council).
The Council adopted conclusions on Kaliningrad, as a follow-up to the EU/ Russia Summit of 11 November 2002. The Council reiterated its commitment to adopting necessary steps to implement the new arrangement on the Facilitated Transit Document (FTD) and the Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD) before the signature of the Accession Treaty. This will be decided and developed in close consultation with Lithuania. The EU stands ready to provide financial assistance to Lithuania to cover additional costs of implementing the measures.
The Council discussed its draft operation programme for 2003, submitted jointly by the forthcoming Greek and Italian presidencies and contributed to by the Commission and European Parliament. The programme comes as a result of measures decided at the Seville European Council to improving the efficient functioning of the Council. Member states broadly welcomed the new initiative which identifies the following priority areas: enlargement and reform; reinvigorating Europe's economy; social cohesion while promoting sustainable development; and developing the European areas of freedom, security and justice.
The Council noted the Presidency's report on the state of negotiations between the Council, Commission and European Parliament, on an Inter-Institutional Agreement to improve the quality of Community legislation. (Issues addressed include improved co-ordination of the legislative processes, better programming regarding co-decision, greater transparency and publicity of work and the exploration of alternative instruments such as co-regulation and self-regulation by economic operators, social partners, NGOs and European associations.)
So far, a broad common approach on the main parts of the Agreement has emerged. Work will continue at a technical level on other areas. The Greek presidency has been tasked with pursuing negotiations with a view to concluding the Agreement as soon as possible.
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External Relations Session
SG/HR Solana and Commissioner Patten briefed the Council on the current Middle East situation in advance of ministerial discussion at both the Copenhagen European Council and the 'Quartet' meeting in Washington on 20 December.
The Council welcomed recent progress on the draft Constitutional Charter and looked forward to early parliamentary approval. It registered concern at the outcome of the Serbian Presidential elections on 8 December and requested that the matter be resolved by all parties, constitutionally, transparently and democratically, safeguarding institutional stability and continued reform.
The Council welcomed the extension of UNMIK's direct administrative authority to Northern Mitrovica and commended the UN's Special Representative, Michael Steiner, and the Belgrade authorities for their efforts in achieving this encouraging result.
The Council reiterated its grave concern regarding arms sales that breached UN sanctions. It requested speedy and effective investigation into these matters and that responsible parties be brought to account. The Council reaffirmed the crucial importance it attaches to maintaining civilian control of military operations and urged all countries concerned to implement decisive legal and administrative measures to this effect.
The Council welcomed the successful conference of 25 November, fully supported the priority actions identified by the conference and called for urgent implementation of the commitments subscribed to. The Council will draw on the Stabilisation and Association Process review mechanism and a wide range of regional initiatives to follow up on its commitments.
Following discussion and briefing on the Petersberg conference, the Council adopted conclusions. These reiterated the Council's strong commitment to contributing to the full implementation of the Bonn Agreement and outlined existing challenges. Security continues to be a priority concern; the Council commended the 'Decree on the National Army' issued by the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA). It also welcomed the declaration 'Rebuilding Peace in Afghanistan' adopted at the Petersberg conference on 2 December, and reiterated the importance of democratic values, pluralism and respect for human rights. It restated its commitment to working with other international bodies to eliminate the opium trade.
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Communication consists of an analysis of migration and development issues generally, and a report on the effectiveness of financial resources available at Community level. The Commission proposed that migration issues should be more adequately integrated into existing external relations policy and that supplementary financial effort should be made to accommodate this. COREPER has been tasked to examine the Communication and prepare a substantive debate for the Council early next year.
The Council discussed EU/Nato relations and mandated SG/HR Solana to forward to NATO the text on the implementation of the Nice provisions, agreed at the Brussels European Council on 24 and 25 October. The Council also noted a draft Presidency report.
The Council heard a Commission presentation on the mid-term review of the fisheries protocol between the EU and Greenland. The Council noted that a decision on the proposals to adjust the protocol in the short term and to secure political commitment between the EU, Greenland and Denmark must be reached by the end of February 2003.
The Council noted that in less than a month the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina will undertake its first crisis management operation under ESDP and welcomed the double-hatting of the High Representative as EU Special Representative and his role in the EUPM chain of command. The UN Security Council has welcomed EUPM's succession to the UN's International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Council extended the mandates of the five existing special representatives in the Middle East, African Great Lakes, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Afghanistan and Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, until June 2003.
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Government had made no significant steps towards meeting the aims of the Common Position since the previous evaluation. EU policy objectives toward Cuba will remain encouraging Cuba's transition to a pluralistic and democratic system, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, lasting economic recovery and an improvement in the living standards of the population. The Council also strongly urged the Cuban Government to ratify the UN Covenants on Political and Civil Rights, and those on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Council welcomed President Uribe's efforts to reform his country's institutions and to develop a fully functioning democratic state throughout Colombia, based on respect for human rights and the welfare and safety of all its citizens. The Council reiterated its support for seeking a negotiated solution to the conflict in Colombia and expressed the EU's readiness to assist in these areas. It expressed deep concern at the deterioration of human rights in the country and urged the Colombian Government to take effective action against impunity and collusion.
The Council adopted a Common Position concerning restrictive measures against Somalia, prohibiting the sale or supply of arms and related material to Somalia by the member states. Technical, financial or other advice related to military activity is also prohibited.
The Council noted that despite significant recent progress towards peace, democracy and reconciliation in Sierra Leone, instability in the sub-region is still of grave concern. The current situation in Liberia threatens the stability of the sub-region.
The Council welcomes the regional peace process within the Mano River Union framework, facilitated by Morocco, but regrets that progress achieved so far is limited. The Council also welcomes the strengthening of the EU's political dialogue with the countries of the Mano River Union, through the appointment of its Special Representative in 2001. The EU is one of the key development partners for the region. Its main objective in the region is to contribute strategically to peace, security and stability as preconditions for sustainable development.
The Council approved a report on the implementation of the Common Strategy on Ukraine, adopted in December 1999. The report addresses the main objectives of the EU's policy toward Ukraine as set out in the Common Strategy.
The Council took stock of a Presidency report on the EU's anti-terrorism activities and directed its competent bodies to bring forward work on the report's recommendations. The main areas covered include: enhancing justice, security and protection of EU citizens; the fight against the financing of terrorism; and the EU's external action in the fight against terrorism.
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