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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 17th March 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 17th March 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

EC Directives

Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister how many times the United Kingdom Government have appeared at the European Court of Justice in each of the past seven years in order to defend themselves against allegations concerning breaches of EC directives; which Departments of state were directly involved; in which of these cases the decision went against the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Since 1986, 10 direct actions against the United Kingdom have been brought before the European Court of Justice by the Commission, in accordance with article 169 of the treaty of Rome, involving allegations that the United Kingdom was in breach of its obligations under EC directives. Such actions are addressed to Her Majesty's Government and not to any individual Department, but the Departments with the leading interest in the cases were :

                                            |Number of cases                

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food |1                              

Her Majesty's Customs and Excise            |2                              

Department of Employment                    |3                              

Department of the Environment               |2                              

Department of Trade and Industry            |1                              

Department of Transport                     |1                              

Two of the cases were withdrawn before reaching judgment; in three cases the judgment has not yet been delivered. In one of the remaining cases, the court dismissed the application; in the other four the United Kingdom was held to be in breach of the relevant directives.

Further details of cases brought against the United Kingdom are contained in the six-monthly White Papers on developments in the European Community, which also contain details of references to the European Court of Justice from United Kingdom courts under article 177 of the treaty.


Chessington Computer Centre

Mr. Knox : To ask the Prime Minister which Government Minister has responsibility for Chessington computer centre.

The Prime Minister : The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Minister of Public Service and Science, is the Government Minister with responsibility for Chessington computer centre.


Maastricht Treaty

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Faversham (Sir R. Moate) of 9 March, Official Report, column 782 (1) if he will list the provisions of the Maastricht treaty, as it applies to the United Kingdom delay in the implementation of which would lead to loss of foreign investment and jobs;

(2) what estimate he has made of the numbers and categories of jobs which would be lost (a) if ratification of the Maastricht treaty is delayed or (b) if the treaty is not ratified.

The Prime Minister : Various estimates have been made by and for industry of the adverse effect on our economy, inward investment and on jobs if the United Kingdom alone were to fail to ratify the treaty. Most recently the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, which represents more than 240,000 businesses, has made clear that the impact of continuing uncertainty or delay to United Kingdom ratification could only undermine business confidence, which would in turn endanger economic recovery not just here but in the rest of Europe.

The treaty is an important building block of the single market. Among its provisions, early implementation of which has been welcomed by industry, are those giving tougher powers to ensure that other member states stick to their obligations, those strengthening capital liberalisation, and those reversing centralisation by introducing the concept of "subsidiarity" or national preference.