Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100-104)|
WEDNESDAY 12 MARCH 2003
100. I imagine the Government has not actually
given any thought at all to what it will do to take advantage
of the second sentence of 4(6) and it will not do so until it
gets to the stage of an implementing measure, which is then going
to become the legal framework under which the Directive will take
effect. (Miss Johnson) I think you are perhaps a little
unfair, not to me but to our legal advisers. I am sure they have
given some thought to it. But I think the thrust of your point
is right, that the detail which is undoubtedly going to be necessary
in a case such as this one certainly is work yet to be done.
101. Because as Lord Neill says, there will
have to be very, very careful thought given to how to make whatever
is going to be done reasonably Convention-proof. (Miss
Lord Thomson of Monifieth
102. Could I ask what is basically a political
question? How are these discussions now after all these long years
affected by the timetable for enlargement? Could you tell me at
what point this becomes part of the acquis which has to
be accepted by the new candidate countries or at what point there
may be a situation in which the whole negotiation has to be opened
up to take account of their interests? (Miss Johnson)
I ought to be able to answer that question but I am not sure that
I can. As you know, there are ten candidates. Malta has just had
its referendum and they are all joining formally in 2004 and will
be making the decision and joining us around the table. I am not
sure at what point they are forced to accept. I would imagine
that they would be forced to accept any agreements which are arrived
at but it depends when a final text is agreed and accepted by
the parliament. I am not quite clear what the timetable for that
is at the moment. I think it would be an ambitious person who
was prepared to put money on that timetable because obviously
it has been 13 to 14 years, I think, in discussion and who could
say exactly when we were going to come to a conclusion on it.
But we could certainly write to you further on the question of
exactly at what point things formally become part of the acquis
and at which point therefore enlargement states are bound to them.
103. I suppose from a practical point of view
it would be an immense complication if you had to start re-negotiating
with all the new candidate countries? (Miss Johnson)
I do not think that that will happen but I would be happy to write
to you exactly about the interface of the two processes, which
I am not so clear on myself.
104. The situation is no doubt totally different
but I have rather bitter memories of the Common Fisheries Policy
being negotiated and becoming part of the acquis after
we had engaged in our negotiations. We have never quite forgiven
those who were responsible for that. It would be a pity if you
were to get into a situation where you engendered comparable bitterness. (Miss
Johnson) It certainly is not something which has featured
in the discussions as far as I am aware, so I think there probably
is a straightforward answer to it and we will supply that to you,
if we may.
Chairman: Lady Thomas, did you have any further
Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: No, funnily enough
my colleague took the words out of my mouth on this.
Chairman: Lord Henley?
Lord Henley: No, my Lord Chairman.
Chairman: Lord Lester is just in time to ask
Lord Lester of Herne Hill: I apologise, I have
been detained by the Supreme Court.
Chairman: That is a good excuse. Minister, thank
you very much indeed for the help you have given us this evening.
You have been most patient with your time and we are very grateful
to you and you colleagues for coming. Thank you all.