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8 Jun 2000 : Column WA167

Written Answers

Thursday, 8th June 2000.

Britain Russia Centre: Funding

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current budget of the Britain Russia Centre; how much of this is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and whether they will list the projects now funded by grant-in-aid.[HL2590]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Britain Russia Centre's budget for FY2000-01 is £236,621, all of which is funded by Foreign and Commonwealth Office grant-in-aid. Grant-in-aid is not generally used to fund projects directly; the Britain Russia Centre bids separately for project funding from a number of sources, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's command programme budgets and the EU TACIS programme.

North-west Russia: Assistance Nuclear Clean-up

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What bilateral and multi-lateral assistance and monitoring are being afforded to the Russian Federation in respect of nuclear submarines and other nuclear material in the Kola Peninsula, White Sea and Arctic Ocean.[HL2592]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In March 1999 the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs announced a £5 million budget for nuclear clean-up work in north-west Russia. We are currently discussing with the Russian Government how this assistance should be structured and expect to begin practical projects soon.

NATO/Russia Permanent Joint Council

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What items are on the current agenda of the NATO/Russia Permanent Joint Council.[HL2593]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The agenda for recent meetings of the NATO/Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) have included dialogue and exchange of information on the situation in the former Yugoslavia, arms control issues and Russian and NATO approaches to security and military doctrine. NATO allies have also used meetings of the Permanent Joint Council, most recently at foreign ministerial level in Florence on 24 May, to express deep concern at the human cost of Russia's action in Chechnya and to urge Russia to pursue political resolution of the conflict.

8 Jun 2000 : Column WA168

EU: Reform for Enlargement Proposals

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they support the proposals put forward by the German Foreign Minister, Herr Joschka Fisher, for a federal European Union; and, if they do not, how they intend to frustrate them.[HL2600]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Enlargement presents a substantial challenge for the EU. We welcome debate on how the institutions can remain effective after enlargement. That is why we welcome this year's IGC and have a positive agenda for reform. The longer-term issues in Joschka Fischer's speech are not for this IGC, as he makes very clear. They are about how a Union of 30 or more member states might function.

On the substance of his ideas, he makes it clear that he is speaking in a personal capacity, not as a Foreign Minister, nor as a representative of the German Government. We welcome his contribution to the debate. Our own views are set out in the White Paper IGC: Reform for Enlargement.

Iran: Arms Embargo and Export Licences

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have recently authorised the issue of any export licences for Iran as an exception to the national arms embargo.[HL2715]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have recently issued, as an exception to the national arms embargo on Iran, an export licence for the export of night vision equipment for the use of Iranian drug enforcement personnel. This equipment has been procured by a private company on behalf of the UN Drugs Control Programme (UNDCP) as a contribution to the UNDCP in Iran. These goods require a UK export licence as they are transiting the UK en route to Iran.

The UK fully supports assistance for the considerable efforts being made by the Iranian authorities to stem the trafficking of drugs through Iran. Since early 1999 the UK has contributed £1.5 million to support Iranian counter drugs activity.

EU Business Calendar

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for June; and list the major European Union events for the next six months.[HL2716]

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: See attached.

This calendar is primarily concerned with European Union matters but certain other relevant events are also included. Events and dates quoted are based on the information available on the date of issue.

European Calendar: June-November 2000

6LuxembourgSocial Affairs Council
8LuxembourgEducation Council
13-14LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
13-16StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
15LuxembourgResearch Council
16LuxembourgFisheries Council
19-20LuxembourgAgriculture Council
19-20Sta. Maria da FeiraEuropean Council
21-23Cyprus3rd Euro-Mediterranean Conference of the Ministers of Industry
22-23LuxembourgEnvironment Council
26-27LuxembourgTransport Council
28LisbonEU/India Summit
3-7StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
15-16ParisEnvironment Council (Informal)
17BrusselsECOFIN Council
17-18BrusselsAgriculture Council
17-18BrusselsAgriculture Council
20-21LilleCulture Council (Informal)
27BangkokASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial
28-29BangkokASEAN Post Ministerial
28-29MarseillesJustice & Home Affairs Council (Informal)
20TokyoEU/Japan Summit
August There are no Councils scheduled for this month. September
3-5BiarritzAgriculture Council (Informal) 15
15ParisEU/Ukraine Summit
9-10VersaillesECOFIN Council (Informal)
18-19BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
25-26BrusselsAgriculture Council
29BrusselsECOFIN Council
28BrusselsInternal Market/Consumer Council
28MarseillesJustice and Home Affairs Council
2LuxembourgTransport Council
3LuxembourgTelecommunications Council
9-10LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
10LuxembourgEnvironment Council
13-14BiarritzEuropean Council
16 (tbc)ParisEU/US Ministerial Meeting
16-17LuxembourgLabour and Social Affairs Council
17LuxembourgECOFIN-JHA Council
19LuxembourgFisheries Council
19-21SeoulEurope/Asia Summit
23ChinaEU/China Summit
23-24LuxembourgAgriculture Council
25LuxembourgEducation Council
30 (tbc)ParisEU-Russia Summit
3 (tbc)ParisEU/Canada Summit
7BrusselsECOFIN Council
7BrusselsEnvironment Council
9MarseillesEducation/Youth Council
13BrusselsEuro-Med Ministerial
16BrusselsResearch Council
14MarseillesEuro Mediterranean Summit
17BrusselsFisheries Council
20-21Brussels General Affairs Council
20-21BrusselsAgriculture Council
23BrusselsCulture/Audio Council
23MontbeliardEuropean Conference Ministerial
23-24BrusselsBudget Council
27-28BrusselsECOFIN Council
27-28BrusselsLabour and Social Affairs Council
30BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
30BrusselsInternal Market/Consumers Council
29-30GaboroneEU/SADC Ministerial

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Monthly Forecast of EU Business: June 2000

This calendar is primarily concerned with European Union matters but certain other relevant events are also included. Events and dates quoted are based on the information available on the date of issue. June 5--Luxembourg--Ecofin Council

    *Preparation of the European Council (Santa Maria da Feira)

    *The Broad Economic Policy Guidelines--Report to the European Council


    *Fiscal package, including taxation on savings

    *(poss.) Code of Conduct (Business Taxation)--Report concerning the revision of the code

    *Study on company taxation--Presentation by the Commission

    *Ad hoc Working Party on tax fraud--Presentation of a report and possible Council conclusions

    *Excise Duties: Derogation given to Denmark, Sweden and Finland on travellers allowances--Presentation of a Commission report

    *Second progress report on the Financial Action Plan--Orientation debate

    *Efficient financial management

    *Protection of financial interests

    *Annual reports on fight againat fraud for 1999

    *Commission work programme

    *AOB 6--Luxembourg--Social Affairs Council 7--Fiji--ACP/EU Ministerial 8--Fiji--Signing of Post Lome convention 8--Luxembourg--Education Council 13-14--Luxembourg--General Affairs Council 13-16 Strasbourg--European Parliament Plenary 15--Luxembourg--Research Council

8 Jun 2000 : Column WA171

    16--Luxembourg--Fisheries Council 19-20--Luxembourg--Agriculture Council 19-20--Sta. Maria da Feira--European Council 21-23--Cyprus--3rd Euro-Med conference 22-23--Luxembourg--Environment Council 26-27--Luxembourg--Transport Council 28--Lisbon--EU/India Summit

No agendas yet known.

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