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11 Jun 2002 : Column WA17

Written Answers

Tuesday, 11th June 2002.

EU Flag

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the legal status of the European Union flag; and whether in order to fly it on public or other buildings it is necessary to have a local authority licence or other authority.[HL4326]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The flying of the EU flag in the UK is controlled under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 and for this purpose the flag is classified as an "outdoor advertisement".

Government buildings benefit from Crown immunity. In order to fly the EU flag from other buildings the express consent of the local planning authority is required.

Black Sea and Adriatic: Land Communications

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the context of the South-East Europe Stability Pact and the Prime Minister's recent remarks on migration in Europe, they can report progress on improving land communications between the Black Sea and the Adriatic, or on an oil bypass for the Bosphorus and Dardanelles; and when they expect improvements to come into use.[HL4480]

Baroness Amos: Land communications between the Black Sea and the Adriatic are being improved largely through the Corridor VIII road and rail project to link Burgas (Bulgaria) and Durres (Albania). Some work on the various elements of the corridor is under way but we understand that there are differences between some states of the region over rail routes and prioritisation of component projects. We hope that the parties involved will soon approve a memorandum of understanding to enable the work to accelerate.

A number of projects involving oil pipelines which would bypass the Bosphorus are under consideration. The two most advanced proposals are (a) a pipeline from Burgas via Macedonia to Vlore (Albania) on the Adriatic coast and (b) a pipeline from Burgas with Alexandropoulis (Greece) on the Aegean Sea coast. We understand that no firm decision has been made with regard to construction of either.

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Turkey and Iraq

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they can confirm reports from France and Germany that heavily armed Turkish military forces crossed the frontier into Iraq on 16 May, killed and wounded some civilians and arrested others, who were then subjected to torture; whether NATO was informed of any such operations; and, in any case, what is their response.[HL4506]

Baroness Amos: We cannot confirm the reports cited by the noble Lord; nor have we received other reports suggesting a major incident of that kind. We continue to monitor the situation closely and to raise our concerns where appropriate.

Convention on the Future of Europe

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to set up fora within the United Kingdom to engender and encourage discussion relating to the Convention on the Future of Europe as envisaged and recommended on page 33 of the first progress report from the United Kingdom representatives to the convention; if so, what form these fora will take; and, if not, why not.[HL4545]

Baroness Amos: The convention recommends that member states organise forums for civil society to discuss the future of Europe. In line with the Government's efforts to bring Europe closer to the people, we are encouraging local and regional governments, think tanks and other public organisations to engage in this debate. There will also be a web-based discussion and direct contact with citizens during ministerial visits across the country.

Inter-Congolese Dialogue

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What material assistance they have provided to facilitate the Inter-Congolese Dialogue; and with what tangible results.[HL4615]

Baroness Amos: The UK has provided substantial financial assistance of £525,000 and an expert to work with the talks facilitator, former President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire. As a result of the dialogue, for the first time in almost 30 years a large representation of Congolese society have come together to discuss arrangements for a democratic government in the DRC. We welcome the progress that was made during these discussions and continue to work with all the parties to conclude arrangements for an inclusive transitional government which will lead to peace in the country for the first time for many years.

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The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to support the United Nations peace-keeping force in the eastern Congo during the coming year; what is the strength of that force; how many casualties it has suffered; and how it will be expanded.[HL4616]

Baroness Amos: In addition to political and financial support, the UK is providing six military personnel to the United Nations Mission in the DRC. The mandated strength of the UN force is 5,537, of which 3,633 are deployed in theatre. There have been six fatalities since the mission was established in November 1999. The force can only be expanded on the recommendation of the Secretary General and with the agreement of the Security Council. There are no plans to do so at present.

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What foreign armies are operating in the areas of the eastern Congo monitored by the United Nations; and what is the estimated strength of those forces.[HL4617]

Baroness Amos: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Angola still have troops in eastern DRC. The estimated strength of these forces is 4,000, 20,000–30,000, 1,500, 8,000 and 1,000 respectively.

European Union: Forthcoming Council Business

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for June, and what are the major European Union Events for the period between 1 July and November 2002.[HL4640]

Baroness Amos: See attached.

4 June—ECOFIN—Brussels

1. Adoption of the agenda

2. (poss) Approval of the list of "A" items

3. Preparation of the Seville European Council

— Council report on Broad Economic Policy and Guidelines

— Council report on administrative co-operation in tax matters.

4. (poss) Recasting of the Financial Regulation

5. Macro-financial assistance

— Policy debate

6. Directive on prospectuses

— Policy debate

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7. (poss) Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision

— Political agreement

8. Sixth half-yearly Commission report on the Financial Services Action Plan

9. Tax Matters

— Tax Package

— Savings taxation

    — Report on dependent or associated territories

    — Report on negotiations with third States

— Code of Conduct: progress report

— (poss) Taxation of biofuels

    — Political agreement

— (poss) Energy taxation

— Administrative co-operation in tax matters

    — Council conclusions

— VAT treatment of cross-border motor vehicle leasing

10. Methods of evaluating output gaps

11. Advantages of the different types of pension schemes

12. Other business

6–7 June—Industry and Energy Council—Brussels

1. Approval of provisional agenda

2. (poss) Approval of the list of "A" items

3. Competitiveness and enterprise policy in the EU

    (a) — Commission communication "Productivity: the key to competitiveness"

    — Annual Commission report on competitiveness (2002)

    — Presentation by the Commission and discussion

    — Council conclusions

    (b) — Communication from the Commission on the impact of the e-Economy on European businesses: economic analysis and political implications 14748/01 ECO 367

    — Council conclusions

    (c) — Report on the European Charter for Small Enterprises; Follow-up to the Barcelona European Council on 15 and 16 March 2002

    — Presidency briefing 6125/02 ECO 38

4. Sustainable development

    (a) Strategy for chemicals

    — Commission briefing

    (b) Contribution of enterprise policy to sustainable development

    — Discussion

    — Council conclusions

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5. Steel

    (c) Expiry of the ECSC Treaty

    — Commission briefing

    (d) Situation on the world steel market

    — Commission briefing

6. (poss) Shipbuilding

    (e) Fifth report from the Commission to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding

    — Presentation by the Commission 8689/02 RC 6

    (b) Proposal for a Council Regulation concerning a temporary defensive mechanism in shipbuilding (LA) (*)

(Articles 87(3) and 89 of the Treaty) 11335/01 RC 14 WTO 83

7. Competition

    (f) Proposal for a Council Regulation on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty and amending Regulations (EEC) No 1017/68, (EEC) No 2988/74, (EEC) No 4056/86 and (EEC) No 3975/87

    — Progress report

    (g) XXXIst Commission Report on Competition Policy 2001

    — Presentation by the Commission

    8455/02 RC 4

8. (poss) Reduction/re-orientation of public aid

State-aid scoreboard—Spring 2002 edition

    — Presentation by the Commission

9. Life sciences and biotechnology—A strategy for Europe

    — Council conclusions

    6415/02 RECH 40 ENV 103 CONSOM 14 SAN 24 DEVGEN 15 MI 31 IND 23 AGRI 43 SOC 87 RELEX 27 EDUC 30 AG 6

10. Euromed—industrial co-operation

    — Presidency briefing on the outcome of the Ministerial Conference in Malaga on 9 and 10 April 2002 7922/02 ECO 116 MED 30

11. G10 medicinal products

    — Report from the High-Level Working Party on innovation and the supply of medicinal products

    — Commission briefing

ENERGY (7 June 2002)

12. Proposal for a Council Regulation on State aid to the coal industry after the expiry of the ECSC Treaty (LA) (*)

(Articles 87 and 89 TEC)

    — Political agreement

13. Internal market in electricity and gas

    (h) Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directives 96/92/EC and 98/30/EC concerning

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    common rules for the internal market in electricity and natural gas (LA) (*)

(Article 95 TEC)

    — Political agreement

    (i) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on conditions for access to the network for cross-border exchanges in electricity (LA)

(Article 95 TEC)

    — Progress report

14. Proposal for an amendment to the Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision 1254/96/EC laying down a series of guidelines for trans-European energy networks (LA)

(Article 196 TEC)

    — General approach

15. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of biofuels for transport (LA)

(Article 175 TEC)

    — General approach

16. Energy Charter

    — Progress report

17. Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council adopting a multiannual programme for action in the field of energy: "Intelligent Energy for Europe" Programme (2003–06) (LA)

(Article 175 TEC)

    — Presentation by the Commission

18. Security of energy supply

    — Commission briefing on follow-up to consultations on the Green Paper on security of supply

19. Other business

Other business

3—Brussels—Employment and Social Affairs Council

3—Brussels—Eurogroup (Evening)


6–7—Brussels—Convention on the Future of Europe—Plenary session

6–7—Madrid—EU-ASEM meeting (EU 15)

6–8—Brussels—Foreign Affairs (ASEM Ministers)

10–11—Brussels—General Affairs Council

10–11—Brussels—Agriculture Council

11—Brussels—Fisheries Council

13–14—Brussels—Justice and Home Affairs Council

17–18—Brussels—Transport and

Telecommunications Council

17–18—Brussels—General Affairs Council

21–22—Seville—European Council

24—Brussels—General Affairs Council (Evening)

24–25—Brussels—Convention on the Future of Europe—Plenary Session

24–25—Brussels—Environment Council

11 Jun 2002 : Column WA23


26—Brussels—Heath Council

The following are the principal events in the EU between 1 July and November 2002. The list is based on the information available at the date of issue.

12–13KoldingMeeting of Employment and Social Policy Ministers (Informal)
15–16BrusselsAgriculture Council
19BrusselsBudget Meeting
19–21ArhusEnvironment Ministers meeting (Informal)
22–23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
31–1ElisnoreGymnich (Ministerial Informal)
6BrusselsASEM Economic Ministers Meeting
6–8CopenhagenECOFIN (Ministerial Informal)
8–10NyborgAgriculture Council (Ministerial Informal)
12–13CopenhagenJustice and Home Affairs Council (Ministerial Informal)
22–23CopenhagenASEM Meeting
23–24BrusselsAgriculture Council
26BrusselsInternal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism Council
27TentACP-EU Ministers Meeting
30BrusselsResearch Council
30–1BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
3–4BrusselsTransport and Telecommunications Council
8BrusselsEmployment and Social Policy Council
14BrusselsFisheries Council
14–15BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs, and Civil Protection Council
15–16BrusselsAgriculture Council
17BrusselsEnvironment Council
18–19AalborgInternal Market, Consumer Affairs and Industry Meeting (Ministerial Informal)
21–22BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
24–25BrusselsEuropean Council
1BrusselsCulture Council
2BrusselsECOFIN—Troika meeting on Macro-Economic Dialogue
12BrusselsEducation and Youth Council
14–15BrusselsInternal Market, Consumer Affairs and Youth Council
18BrusselsFisheries Council
18–19BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
19–20BrusselsAgriculture Council
22BrusselsDevelopment Council
25–26BrusselsBudget (Council)
25–26BrusselsIndustry and Energy Council
28–29BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs, and Civil Protection Council

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