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3 Apr 1996 : Column WA37

Written Answers

Wednesday, 3rd April 1996.

Council of Europe: Agenda for April

Lord Belhaven and Stenton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the forthcoming business in the Council of Europe.

Lord Chesham: The following Councils are scheduled:

    12th April: Transport (Informal)

    12th April: Ecofin (Informal)

    13th April: Transport (Informal)

    13th April: Ecofin (Informal)

    13th April: Social Affairs (Informal)

    18th April: Tourism

    22th April: Fisheries

    22th April: General Affairs Council

    23th April: General Affairs Council

    23th April: Consumer Affairs

    23th April: Culture (Informal)

    24th April: Culture (Informal)

    24th April: Telecom (Informal)

    25th April: Telecom (Informal)

    29th April: Agriculture

    30th April: Agriculture

18th April: Tourism Council

    "A" Points

    As advised by Council Secretariat.

    "B" Points

    1992 Tourism Action Plan: evaluation report (debate)

    Proposal for a Council Decision establishing a new Tourism Action Plan (debate) (possible item)

    Council Resolution on Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in the field of tourism Commission Green Paper on Tourism (debate)

22nd April: Fisheries Council

    "A" Points

    As advised by Council Secretariat.

    "B" Points

    Quota flexibility

    Drift nets

    Technical measures in the Mediterranean

    Presentation of Multi-annual Guidance Programme IV

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    Aquaculture statistics

    Third countries (possible item)

    Fish fees (possible item)

The following subjects are likely to be discussed.

12th/13th April: Transport Council (Informal)

    Need to complete infrastructure network as defined in Community documents and the respective legal and financial instruments

    Means for transferring traffic from roads

    Transport and the environment

    Harmonisation of conditions for transport activities

12th/13th April: Ecofin Council (Informal)

    Discussion of EMU:

    relationship between participating and non- participating countries;

    German proposals for a stability pact;

    technical and legal issues posed by the introduction of the Euro

    Discussion of economic situation in the EU:

    initiatives to deal with unemployment (Santer's Confidence Pact)

    Taxation (discussion of Commission paper)

13th April: Social Affairs Council (Informal)

    Agenda not yet available.

22nd-23rd April: General Affairs Council

    Agenda not yet available

23rd April: Consumer Affairs Council

    "A" Points

    As advised by Council Secretariat

    "B" Points

    Proposal for directive on indication of prices of consumer products (political agreement)

    Proposal for directive on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests (orientation debate)

    Commission action plan on consumer access to justice (presentation by Commission and exchange of views)

    Council Conclusions on priorities for consumer policy

    Open debate on Commission communication on priorities for consumer policy

    Proposal for directive on sale of goods and consumer guarantees (Commission presentation)

    Proposal for directive on rate of charge of consumer credit (Commission presentation)

23rd-24th April: Culture Council (Informal)

    Agenda not yet available

3 Apr 1996 : Column WA39

24th-25th April: Agriculture Council

    "A" Points

    As advised by Council Secretariat

    "B" Points

    Reform of the fruit and vegetable regime

    Price fixing


    Oilseeds for non-food uses (possible item)

    Geographical designations

    Plant health: solidarity and responsibility (possible item)

    Veterinary and fish fees (possible item)

    Pesticide maximum residence levels (possible item)

Greek-Turkish Border

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they are unwilling publicly to acknowledge Greece's international border with Turkey, and whether they have discussed the matter with the United States.

Lord Chesham: The precise demarcation of the border between Greece and Turkey involves judgments on the complex international legal background to maritime boundaries in the Aegean. The matter is one for the parties to sort out in accordance with international law. The best way to proceed must be to submit the dispute to arbitration. We regularly discuss tensions in the Aegean with the United States.

NATO: Enlargement

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What co-ordination there is in NATO regarding statements made either by NATO officials or by representatives of individual member states about the eastward expansion of NATO, and about such developments as the US bases purportedly to be set up next year under NATO auspices in Hungary and Romania, as recently stated by a US Administration official.

Lord Chesham: The Alliance frequently discusses NATO enlargement, including at meetings of the Allies' Permanent Representatives in Brussels. NATO officials are obliged to represent policy agreed by all the Allies when speaking officially on behalf of the organisation. We understand that the United States Department of Defense has corrected the misinterpretation in the media of the statement to which the noble Lord refers.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware that all parties in the Russian Duma, members of which recently visited this country, agree that NATO's expansion eastwards threatens Russia's interests and if these views are among those deemed "emotional rather than well-founded" by Mr. Solana in his recent speech in Moscow.

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Lord Chesham: We are aware of Russian concerns about NATO enlargement. The Alliance is addressing these concerns in developing its wider relationship with Russia and has made it clear that the enlargement process will threaten no-one.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether NATO Secretary-General Solana was speaking for all NATO members when he said in Moscow that "The decision to expand NATO was taken in 1994 and will be carried out regardless of circumstances", and that Russia's objections were "emotional rather than well-founded"; and whether these remarks had been approved by the Greek Government, whose Foreign Minister has recently stated that "Russia's opinion as a great European power must be heeded and taken into account with all respect".

Lord Chesham: NATO Heads of State, at their meeting in Brussels in 1994, took the decision to enlarge the Alliance as part of a wider process of enhancing security and stability in the whole of Europe. All NATO Allies remain firmly committed to this.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What meaning is to be attached to NATO Secretary-General Solana's words in Moscow recently to the effect that NATO's expansion eastwards could not threaten Russia's interests because it "serves the purpose of ensuring Europe's security against regional conflicts and proliferation of nuclear armaments", given that one major European Power, Russia, holds an opposite opinion, and that NATO expansion eastwards would carry NATO nuclear deployments eastwards.

Lord Chesham: NATO's study into the "how and why" of enlargement, produced in September 1995, made clear that NATO enlargement will threaten no-one, and will contribute to a broad European security architecture based on true co-operation throughout the whole of Europe. The study also noted that there is no a priori requirement for the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of new members.

Boot Camps

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether The Sunday Times was accurate in reporting on 24th March 1996 that a year ago the Government "suppressed a Whitehall study which concluded that it was pointless to introduce boot camps in Britain"; and if not, what the position is.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The study referred to was prepared by Prison Service officials as advice to Ministers. Following the long established convention, this advice was not published.

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UN Committee on Racial Discrimination: UK Report

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their plans to publicise and disseminate the observations made by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the United Kingdom's Thirteenth Periodic Report to that committee.

Baroness Blatch: The Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, following the United Kingdom's oral examination on its Thirteenth Periodic Report, will be placed in the Library. The corrected summary records of the hearing will also be placed there once they have been issued by the committee. Both documents are published by the United Nations, and copies may be obtained from that source. Copies are also available form the Home Office on request and the Non Governmental Organisations which, to our knowledge, submitted evidence to the committee will be informed of these arrangements.

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