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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 11th January 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 11th January 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Scottish Constitution

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the people whom he has consulted in connection with his stocktaking exercise about Scotland's constitutional position.

The Prime Minister : I have had frequent opportunities to hear views from people of all political persuasions and from many backgrounds, including the church, the law, business, academic life, the arts and the media.


India

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister which cities he intends to visit on his next visit to India.

The Prime Minister : I shall visit Delhi as a guest of the Indian Government on republic day on 26 January. I shall also visit Bombay.


UN Population Conference

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Prime Minister (1) in which country the United Nations conference on world population will be held; and on what dates;

(2) what proposals the Government have to involve relevant non-governmental organisations in preparation for the 1994 United Nations conference on world population;

(3) what proposals the Government have to enable (a) relevant non-governmental organisations and (b) hon. Members to attend the 1994 United Nations conference on world population;

(4) which Government Department is to be responsible for the 1994 United Nations population conference.

The Prime Minister : The international conference on population and development will take place in Cairo from 5 to 13 September 1994. A decision will be taken shortly on which Government Department will also take prime responsibility for United Kingdom preparations for the conference. The Government will make proposals shortly for how hon. Members and relevant non-governmental organisations might be involved in the preparations.


Committee of Permanent Representatives

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has to apply the decision to improve transparency in the activities of the European Council to the availability to Parliament of (a) the minutes of COREPER and (b) proposals prepared by COREPER for the Council prior to their consideration by the Council.

The Prime Minister : There are no such plans.


EC Monetary Reserve

Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister why the European Council in Edinburgh concluded that the EC's monetary reserve should be halved between 1994 and 1995; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The decision was taken in the light of the recent reform of the CAP, which involves a shift away from price support towards direct payments to producers. That should make CAP expenditure progressively less susceptible to the impact of fluctuations in the dollar/ecu exchange rate.


EC Agriculture Spending

Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister why the European Council concluded on 11-12 December that agriculture spending by the EC would fall between 1993 and 1994; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The figures to which my hon. Friend refers are those for the agricultural guidelines in constant 1992 prices. The guideline is calculated in real terms by up-rating the 1988 baseline figure by 74 per cent. of the estimated growth in real Community gross national product (GNP) between 1988 and the year in question. This calculation takes place when the Commission submits its preliminary draft budget. For 1993, therefore, the guideline was calculated in May 1992. Subsequently, the estimate of Community GNP was revised downwards. Although the decision was too late to affect the 1993 figure it will be reflected in the guideline for 1994 and thereafter. The estimate for the guideline for 1994 to 1999, used by the European Council in its future financing plans, takes account of this latest information.


European Environmental Agency

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what arrangements were agreed at the Edinburgh summit for the siting of the European Environmental Agency.

The Prime Minister : It was agreed at the European Council that the siting of the European Environmental Agency will be decided by common agreement between member states at a forthcoming European Council, giving appropriate priority to member states who do not at present provide the sites for Community institutions.


Edinburgh Summit

Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if section A (Citizenship) on page 5 B of part B of the "Conclusions of the Presidency" in Edinburgh was designed by the Council to apply to all member states.

The Prime Minister : The section referred to by the hon. Member was designed to meet Danish concerns but it represents an interpretation of the provisions of the Maastricht treaty relating to citizenship of the union which was agreed by all member states and is true for all of them.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what procedures he proposes for ratification of the inter-governmental agreement reached at Edinburgh on Danish qualifications to the Maastricht treaty.

The Prime Minister : The decision does not require ratification.

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on how Her Majesty's Government propose to implement the decision set out at paragraph 7 of the Edinburgh declaration on the conclusions of the United Kingdom presidency of the European Council to increase public investment in decision-making.

The Prime Minister : The United Kingdom will work closely with other members of the Council, the Commission and Parliament to ensure that the measures on transparency agreed in Edinburgh are put into practice as soon as possible.

Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister why the European Council in Edinburgh concluded that there should be no increase in the provision of loan guarantees between 1993 and 1999; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The Edinburgh European Council endorsed the conclusions of the ECOFIN Council in October that the Community's growing international responsibilities had led to an increase in the level and scope of lending to non-member states backed by guarantees on the EC budget, and that considerations of prudent budgetary management and financial discipline called for the establishment of a new financial framework, including an appropriate form of provisioning. The European Council accordingly agreed that a guarantee fund should be established, with a target size of 10 per cent. of the Community's outstanding liabilities arising from external loans and guarantees ; and that this should be financed by a reserve in the financial perspective not exceeding 300 million ECU in each year from 1993 to 1999 (in 1992 prices), from which payments would be made into the fund in proportion to the value of new loans agreed. This framework will be sufficient to allow continuing significant levels of new lending to non-member states guaranteed on the EC budget.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister if he will give the names of the persons signing their names as plenipotentiary of each relevant state to the inter-governmental decision relating to Denmark at the European Council meeting in Edinburgh.

The Prime Minister : The decision relating to Denmark was not signed. This does not affect its character as an agreement binding in international law between the parties to the treaty on European union on how certain of its provisions are to be interpreted and applied.


Princess of Wales

Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Prime Minister what advice he received from sources outside the Government concerning the constitutional position of the accession to the throne of the Princess of Wales, before making his statement to the House of 9 December.

The Prime Minister : The advice which I took on this matter is confidential.


Gambling

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will describe the process by which concerned people can contribute to and respond to Government ideas on maintaining, abolishing or changing the restrictions on stimulation of gaming or gambling.

The Prime Minister : The processes are the same as those for any other aspect of Government policy. As necessary, the Government issue consultation documents on particular aspects of the gambling controls. In addition, interested parties may at any time make their views known direct to Government or via Members of Parliament.