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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Following a detailed review of aid to Afghanistan by an ODA-led mission earlier this summer and in light of the UN appeal launched in October, I have approved a package of further assistance amounting to £3.5 million, which will be provided through a number of UN agencies, as well as the International Red Cross and some UK-based NGOs.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Government plan to introduce legislation as soon as legislative time allows. Copies of a draft Hong Kong (Overseas Public Servants) Bill are being made available in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Presidency noted Latvia's application to join the EU, lodged in Madrid on 27 October. The Council agreed on a formal acknowledgement referring to the procedure laid down in Article O of the Treaty.
The Council discussed a draft Association Agreement with Morocco. A special Foreign Affairs Council is to be convened on 10 November with the aim of reaching final agreement, preceded by discussion in the Committee of Permanent Representatives.
The Presidency reported on the Troika visit to the Middle East. The Head of the EU Electoral Unit reported on preparations for election monitoring. The Commission's Communications on relations with the Palestinians was remitted to Coreper for detailed examination.
The Council adopted a policy paper on former Yugoslavia, covering civilian aspects of implementation of an eventual peace settlement. The Council reaffirmed its support for the EU Mostar Administrator's continuing efforts to unify the city.
Lord Lucas: The Council adopted by qualified majority an amended Commission proposal enabling member states to pay national aids, under defined conditions, to farmers who had experienced considerable income losses as a result of significant currency depreciation in other member states. The original proposal was opposed by the UK, Italy and Swedencomprising 24 voteswhich meant it could not be adopted if a member state invoked the Council Decision reflecting the agreement reached at Ioannina in Greece on 27 March 1994. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food invoked this Decision, thereby requiring the Council to seek a basis for agreement involving at least 65 votes; that is, with fewer than 23 votes opposing or abstaining. As a consequence of this, the proposal was amended, in particular to require aid payments to be reduced or cancelled if currency depreciations were subsequently reversed. Although this was a significant and welcome improvement, it went less far than my right honourable
The Council also discussed reform of the rice regime and held a first discussion of the Commission's proposal to reform the fruit and vegetables regime. On the latter, my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food welcomed the proposed steps towards reducing the role of intervention and urged the Council to commit itself to eventual abolition of intervention in this sector. He stressed the importance of focusing support on a wider range of organisations than the narrowly defined traditional producer co-operatives proposed by the Commission.
Under other business, my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food expressed concern about the Commission's decision to reduce malt export refunds and effectively shorten the period for which export certificates were valid. Several other Ministers supported. The Commissioner undertook to reflect and if necessary adjust the measures in the light of experience.
My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food also pressed the Commission to retain provision for guaranteed set-aside, so that the important environmental benefits of these arrangements could be preserved. He argued that any proposal setting limits of nitrate in lettuce must reflect the scientific advice. He drew attention to the lack of any health risk to UK consumers, the need to promote consumption of vegetables and the devastating effect which unduly restrictive rules would have on the UK glasshouse industry. He therefore argued that there was no justification for the setting of such limits.
(a) the manufacturer and the wholesaler/retailer; and
(b) the purchaser and the premises on which the products are to be used.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The legal requirements in Great Britain covering the safe transport of dangerous goods, including toxic chemicals such as organophosphorus sheep dips, are contained in a number of regulations made under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They place a wide range of duties for safe transport mainly on those persons consigning dangerous goods for carriage or on the operators of the vehicles being used, although there are some duties placed on drivers of road vehicles carrying dangerous goods. The main regulations affecting the transport of toxic chemicals are:
These regulations include requirements for the placarding and supervision of the vehicle, for the packaging and labelling of the goods, for driver training and for the driver to have written information as to the dangers of the substances being carried in the vehicle.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The number of applications for asylum from Polish nationals awaiting an initial decision as at 30 September 1995 was 1,000. Information for decisions on asylum applications is given in the table.
|Grants of asylum||Grants of exceptional leave to remain||Total refusals||Substantive refusals||Third country refusals||Paragraph 340 refusals|
|1995 (January to September)||||*||230||155||65||10|
Figures rounded to the nearest 5 with * = 1 or 2.