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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 29th June 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 29th June 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

European Council

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral statement on the European Council in Copenhagen of 23 June, Official Report, columns 309-10, what were the main elements of the Commission paper on information disclosure and transparency discussed at the Council ; and what was the policy position advanced by the United Kingdom on openness during the Council deliberations on the Commission's proposals.

The Prime Minister : The main points of the Commission's paper are :

 - a positive assessment of progress since Birmingham/Edinburgh; suggestions for future activity, including follow-up to the Sutherland report on the single market (which addressed the need to ensure its effectiveness, for example through better explanation of the legislation and its rationale) and simplification of Community legislation to reduce burdens on business ;

 - the possibility of a round table meeting with regional/local authorities and NGOs;

 - the need for a more responsive and effective Commission information/press service;

 - a request to member states to improve openness at national level about the implementation of Community policies;

 - the idea of an inter-institutional agreement on access to information.

At Copenhagen, we welcomed the progress made since the Edinburgh European Council, in opening up the work of the Council of Ministers, had emphasised the importance of continuing work in this area, including on the Commission's proposals for granting public access to information held by the Community's institutions.


Third World Debt

Mr. Pike : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to propose at the July summit of the G7 nations steps to ensure compliance with, and full implementation of, the Trinidad terms in relation to African poverty and debt; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The summit agenda is a matter for the Japanese. But we hope debt of the poorest and most heavily indebted countries will be one of the central issues for discussion at the summit. Our position on Trinidad terms for these countries is well known. I shall certainly continue to press for full Trinidad terms, in line with my original proposal for a benchmark of two thirds immediate reduction on the whole stock of debt, with up to 80 per cent. reduction for those in the greatest need.


Yugoslavia

Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister if he will seek to convene a special EC Heads of Government meeting to consider emergency financial and other assistance to Croatia and Slovenia to support refugees in both countries and to review the EC refugee burden sharing arrangements; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The European Community has, since the beginning of the crisis in former Yugoslavia, made available £397 million for humanitarian relief. This includes a £119 million contribution at the end of last month. The United Kingdom has given a further £44.5 million bilaterally. Both these figures include substantial grants to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee--UNHCR. UNHCR will hold a donor meeting in mid-July to consider future needs.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister what further financial and other assistance European Community countries are proposing to make available to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia to support refugees and displaced persons; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will chair a meeting of donors in mid-July in Geneva. That meeting will focus on the latest detailed analysis of the needs of displaced people and others affected by the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, including Slovenia and Croatia. The acceptance of refugees and displaced people from the former Yugoslavia is the subject of frequent discussion between EC member states but at present there are no formal burden-sharing arrangements.


Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 29 June.

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 29 June.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today.