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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Government are committed to providing fair compensation to fur farmers put out of business by the ban on fur farming under the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000. As required under the Act, we will consult the industry on the details of the compensation scheme later this year. The Government will then consider the responses received and lay the necessary statutory instrument before Parliament. The Government understand the need to move as fast as possible on this matter.
The Council adopted by qualified majority (Spain and Netherlands opposing) measures to tackle the problems in the EU beef market resulting from the discovery of BSE in certain continental countries late last year. We are pleased to secure important exemptions for United Kingdom farmers from the measures cutting back suckler cow production, in recognition of the particular impact of FMD, as well as rejection of the excessively bureaucratic proposals to impose individual farmer quotas on beef special premiums and to reimpose the 90 head limit on individual claims.
The Council also adopted--by qualified majority with Spain opposing and Portugal abstaining--rules to restrict the use of close confinement stalls for sows. This brings other countries into line with conditions already applying here. It is an important and welcome step to improve pig welfare across the Community, albeit less radically than we would have preferred.
Colleagues were upated on the latest situation on FMD in the UK. The Council also discussed further measures on BSE, as a result of which the Commission will enact a range of further controls including an extension to the current ban on the use of animal protein in animal feed.
The Council unanimously adopted conclusions following up the Copenhagen Conference on organic food and farming, and setting the framework for a European Action Plan. It unanimously agreed proposals concerning the olive oil and hops regimes, inspection and control of animal feedingstuffs, a special aid scheme for small farmers and a common position on controlling undesirable substances in animal feed. By qualified majority, it agreed common positions on the processing, use and disposal of animal by-products and on classical swine fever (Germany and Austria opposing in both cases).
Whether they will consider the renegotiation of any part of the Nice Treaty, in particular those parts that do not relate to the enlargement process, as a result of the rejection of the Treaty in the Irish referendum; and [HL48]
How they intend to achieve "rapid progress on the enlargement of the European Union" in light of the Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty. [HL49]
The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The 11 June General Affairs Council expressed regret at the result of the Irish referendum on the Treaty of Nice, while respecting the will of the Irish people. The GAC noted that the Irish Government is deeply and firmly committed to the EU and to the ratification of the Treaty of Nice. The Fourteen expressed their readiness to contribute in every possible way to help the Irish Government find a way forward, taking into account the concerns reflected by this result, without reopening the text of the Nice Treaty.
The Gothenburg European Council confirmed these conclusions, and reaffirmed that the ratification process for the Treaty of Nice will continue so that the Union is in a position to welcome new member states from the end of 2002.
Heads of State and Government also agreed that, provided progress towards meeting the accession criteria continues at an unabated pace, the enlargement road map should make it possible to complete negotiations by the end of 2002 for those candidate countries that are ready. The objective is that they should participate in the 2004 European Parliament elections as members.
|August 2001 There are no Councils scheduled for August September 2001|
|6-7||Bruges||External Trade Council (Ministerial Informal)|
|14-16||Leuven and Louvain- la-neuve||Environment Council (Ministerial Informal)|
|16-18||Alden Biezen||Agriculture Council (Ministerial Informal)|
|27||Brussels||Internal Market, Consumers and Tourism Council|
|27-28||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|1||Brussels||European Union Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session (Possible)|
|8||Brussels||Employment and Social Affairs Council|
|8-9||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|9||Brussels||Urban Metropolitan Policy Council (Ministerial Informal)|
|11-12||Brussels||Defence Council (Ministerial Informal)|
|15-16||Brussels||Transport and Telecommunications Council (Possible)|
|19||Ghent||European Council (Informal)|
|29-30||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|5||Brussels||Cultural and Audio-visual Council|
|8||Brussels||Development and Co-operation Council|
|9||Brussels||European Union Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session|
|12||Brussels||Employment and Social Affairs|
|16||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|19-20||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|19-20||Brussels||Capabilities Improvement Conference (Defence Ministers present)|
|21-22||Brussels||Budget Council (Possible)|
|26||Brussels||Internal Market, Consumers and Tourism Council|
|27||Brussels||Fisheries Council (Possible)|
|29||Brussels||Education and Youth Council|
|3||Brussels||Employment and Social Affairs Council|
|4||Bruges||Culture Council (Informal)|
|7-8||Brussels||Transport and Telecommunications Council|
|7-8||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|10-11||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|14-15||Brussels/ Laeken||European Council|
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