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The hon. Gentleman said a moment ago that better regulation meant less regulation. He needs to think about that because such things are more complicated than he obviously thought this morning.
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The other issuesthere is no secret about thisrelate to cutting the connection between support for rural areas and farmers and support for products and dealing with the interests of export subsidies.
Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): The Foreign Secretary will know that the system of listed events, whereby different countries are allowed to determine which sporting events should be available on public service broadcasting and free-to-air services, depends on the television without frontiers directive, which is mentioned on page 11 of the document. Will the Government ensure that we adhere to and strengthen that directive, so that, for instance, we can see the Lions on tour on public service broadcasting?
Mr. Straw: I am expert on many things, but not on the fine print of the television without frontiers directive. However, I draw my hon. Friend's attention to one of the world's experts on the issue: my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire) (Con): In wishing the United Kingdom's presidency every success, may I ask the Foreign Secretary whether he will consider an initiative that will involve Members of Parliament from each national Parliament, as well as MEPs, bearing it in mind that it is our stated objective to reinforce our belief in a Europe of nation states?
Secondly, quite separately from this series of White Papers, as the hon. Gentleman will know, I made proposals to the House in respect of greater involvement by the House and the other place in all European business, and I very much hope that the House itself will now take them forward. We want to see much greater accountability to the House by the British Government and European institutions. The proposals are on the table. It is now a matter for hon. Members to make their decisions on them.
Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab): My right hon. Friend will be aware that this June marked the 10th anniversary of the planned, premeditated genocide of 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. Can he reassure the House that he will use all the resources of the UK presidency to ensure that the perpetrators of that heinous bloodbath are brought to justice and stand trial, to make sure that justice is delivered to their grieving families?
Yes, I can. We in the United Kingdom have led a very tough approach in respect of co-operation by every Balkan state that was part of the former Yugoslavia with the chief prosecutor of the
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International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague precisely so that, whatever the ethnic origin of the perpetrators, they are all brought to justice. The House will also wish to know that, on 11 July, I shall visit Srebrenica to lead the European Union's commemorative service in that town.
Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby) (Con): The Foreign Secretary reveals that neither he nor the Government understand that the peoples of Europewhether French, Dutch or Britishdo not like the direction in which the European Union is going and want it changed. My specific question is about agriculture. As a farmer who receives payments from the CAP, my personal opinion is that it should be scrapped. How much longer will we proceed with British taxpayers supporting tobacco production? British taxpayers pay to stop tobacco being smoked here, so why should they pay for tobacco to be produced in Greece and elsewhere?
Mr. Straw: On the latter point, the answer is that they should not. I agree with the hon. Gentleman. It is absurd that the European Union subsidises tobacco production. We want to see that changed, but to get change in the European Union normally requires the agreement of at least two thirds of the member states around the table and, sometimes, all of them. Yes, it is true that the message in referendums on the constitutional treaty in France and the Netherlands was that the public did not like the direction of Europe. That is the easy bit. The difficulty is that the public in those countries appear to want Europe to go in different and contradictory directions. That is not only why the Prime Minister set out his vision of the direction that Europe needs to take, but why we must ensure that we bring others with us. The way to do that is the way that we propose. The way that the Conservative Front-Bench team currently proposetreaty change, as if by magicoffers no future whatsoever.
Sir Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough) (Lab): The House will have heard with great interest the Foreign Secretary's statement. The programme that he has set out is, in fact, reasonable and likely to get majority support in the European Union, but can he assure the House that when we talk about Birmingham, Leicester and Blackburnbringing the good news from Aix to Ghentwe will try to get the debate out into the country so that the huge benefits of the European Union can be understood by our people, so that they can give it greater support in the future than they have done in the past?
Mr. Straw: I hope that the wide variety of locations that we are using will help to bring across the value of the European Union; but, in the end, the European Union will be better appreciated when its delivery is betterso this is about the substance, not just about the form.
Rev. Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP):
When the Prime Minister returned from Europe, he made a statement in the House. I asked him a simple question about the CAP and what would happen. In his reply, he hinted that there could be a way whereby Governments
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could interfere and pay subsidy to farmers. When we had another Question Time, I asked the Minister for Europe about that. He enlarged on the issue. Will the Government tell us now what is their policy on the issue, because it leaves farmers in a very peculiar and sad position? Farmers should know exactly what the Government will do on the issue.
Mr. Straw: The current arrangements for support of farmers were made by the European Council in October 2002 and they will stand until they are changed, which provides obvious reassurance. In any event, under our proposals, we are not talking about immediate change, but about changes that would take time and would be the subject of great discussion. As I told the House earlier, the key part of our proposal, indeed any proposal, to reform the CAP is to reduce its total sizeits total burden on the budgetalong with splitting the connection between payments and production and the elimination of export subsidies. There is debate in Europe about co-decision on the renationalisation of agricultural payments and we shall listen carefully to that. I know that the hon. Gentleman's constituents are interested in how much money they will receive in their pockets rather than the exact source from which it will come. In pursuing agricultural reform, we take account of the needs of the UK farming community, but we must also take into account the overall burden on the British and European taxpayer.
Mr. Doug Henderson (Newcastle upon Tyne, North) (Lab): My right hon. Friend's statement is a measured and appropriate response to events in Europe over the past four weeks. Does he agree that there are still major problems of management inefficiency in the system that will not disappear because of what happened in the Netherlands or France? During the British presidency will further attention be given to how the presidency operates so that we do not have the ridiculous system whereby one country holds it for six months every 13 years, with Leicester having a visit only in 2018?
Although I appreciate the benefits of a Muslim country acceding to the EU, many of us are concerned about the unqualified support for the accession of Turkey, as it has an appalling human rights record, especially with regard to the suppression of the Kurdish people. May I draw the Foreign Secretary's attention to the withering judgment of the European Court of Human Rights last month in the case of Ocalan v. Turkey? Will he use his best offices to ensure that the Turkish Government comply with that judgment
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generally, and specifically that they adhere to the basic tenets of human rights with regard to the Kurdish people?
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