Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Home Office
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Mrs Theresa May (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Dutch Presidency took place on 9 and 10 June in Luxembourg. The Immigration Minister, the rt hon James Brokenshire MP, attended the Justice Day and I attended the Interior Day.

Justice Day (9 June) began with a progress report on the draft Directive on the supply of digital content. The proposal aims to advance the growth of cross-border e-commerce in the EU by setting common rules for governing the supply of digital content.

The Council then discussed four files in which the UK does not participate: Matrimonial Property Regimes; Registered Partnerships; the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO); and the Directive on Protection of the Union’s Financial Interests Ministers. Ministers agreed General Approaches on both Matrimonial Property Regimes and Registered Partnerships, enabling negotiations with the European Parliament to begin. Ministers secured broad conceptual support on a number of issues relating to the internal functioning of the EPPO, and on the Directive on Protection of the Union’s Financial Interests, Ministers did not reach agreement on a number of compromise options. The Presidency then presented a progress report on negotiations to extend the European Criminal Record Information System (ECRIS) to third country (non-EU) nationals. The Immigration Minister intervened to support the principles behind the ECRIS proposal and to emphasise the importance of finding a suitable technical solution to data sharing.

Over lunch, the Presidency facilitated a discussion on compensating victims of crime, focusing on improving cooperation and sharing best practice. The Commission committed to look at practical steps to support improved cooperation.

After lunch, the Presidency sought a steer from Ministers on work to improve criminal justice in cyberspace. The Immigration Minister intervened to agree the importance of tackling cybercrime and to stress that best use should be made of existing tools.

Under Any Other Business, the Commission informed Ministers that a code of conduct to combat hate speech online had been developed with the IT industry and the Commission will present an impact report to Council in December. The Presidency also updated Ministers on outcomes from the recent EU-US JHA Ministerial meeting on 1-2 June. Finally, the incoming Slovakian Presidency presented its Justice and Home Affairs priorities. The A Points were then adopted.

Interior Day (10 June) began with a discussion on the draft Weapons Directive, which relates to control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. Supported by other Member States, I intervened to welcome the progress made, but underlined the potential to go even further in ensuring appropriately high standards of regulation. The Presidency concluded that there was support for a General Approach and trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament will now begin.

The Council then turned to the Presidency’s data sharing Roadmap. The Roadmap contains a number of practical proposals aimed at enhancing data sharing between Member States to enhance security and law enforcement, which reflects in particular proposals made by the UK and France. I fully supported the Presidency’s prioritisation of this work to enhance internal security across Europe, particularly the sharing of data between Schengen and non-Schengen Member States. Several Member States supported both my position and the objectives and actions set out in the Roadmap.

The discussion on the fight against terrorism focused on a paper from the European Counter Terrorism Coordinator (EUCTC) which made a number of recommendations to advance work to tackle the terrorist threat. I welcomed the role of the EUCTC in supporting Member States in tackling terrorist finance, online radicalisation and firearms, and stressed the clear difference in mandate and competence between the work of Europol and that of the Member State-driven Counter Terrorist Group (CTG). The CTG, which has provided a multilateral platform to enhance cooperation between independent European intelligence services, also gave a presentation.

The Council noted a report on the implementation of the Renewed Internal Security Strategy and the Presidency updated Interior Ministers on the outcomes of the EU-US JHA Ministerial Meeting on 1-2 June, and the outcomes from the High Level meeting on Cyber Security on 12-13 May.

Over lunch, there was a discussion on migration through the Central Mediterranean route and the Commission presented its Communication on external migration. After lunch, the Council discussed the implementation of the EU–Turkey Statement of 18 March. Supported by the Commission, I intervened to ensure a continued focus in the Council on the effective and full implementation of the Statement by Leaders.

The Council then discussed proposals concerning the relationship between the Schengen states and Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Turkey. There was an exchange of views on these proposals and the Council did not agree a General Approach on Georgia. The UK does not participate in these measures.

Next on the agenda was the European Border and Coast Guard, where the Presidency provided a progress update on negotiations with the European Parliament. The UK does not participate in this measure.

The Commission then presented its proposals to the Council on reform of the Common European Asylum System. Finally, the incoming Slovakian Presidency presented its Justice and Home Affairs priorities to Interior Ministers.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Advocate General for Scotland)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

My rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Dutch Presidency took place on 9 and 10 June in Luxembourg. The Immigration Minister, the rt hon James Brokenshire MP, attended the Justice Day and I attended the Interior Day.

Justice Day (9 June) began with a progress report on the draft Directive on the supply of digital content. The proposal aims to advance the growth of cross-border e-commerce in the EU by setting common rules for governing the supply of digital content.

The Council then discussed four files in which the UK does not participate: Matrimonial Property Regimes; Registered Partnerships; the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO); and the Directive on Protection of the Union’s Financial Interests Ministers. Ministers agreed General Approaches on both Matrimonial Property Regimes and Registered Partnerships, enabling negotiations with the European Parliament to begin. Ministers secured broad conceptual support on a number of issues relating to the internal functioning of the EPPO, and on the Directive on Protection of the Union’s Financial Interests, Ministers did not reach agreement on a number of compromise options. The Presidency then presented a progress report on negotiations to extend the European Criminal Record Information System (ECRIS) to third country (non-EU) nationals. The Immigration Minister intervened to support the principles behind the ECRIS proposal and to emphasise the importance of finding a suitable technical solution to data sharing.

Over lunch, the Presidency facilitated a discussion on compensating victims of crime, focusing on improving cooperation and sharing best practice. The Commission committed to look at practical steps to support improved cooperation.

After lunch, the Presidency sought a steer from Ministers on work to improve criminal justice in cyberspace. The Immigration Minister intervened to agree the importance of tackling cybercrime and to stress that best use should be made of existing tools.

Under Any Other Business, the Commission informed Ministers that a code of conduct to combat hate speech online had been developed with the IT industry and the Commission will present an impact report to Council in December. The Presidency also updated Ministers on outcomes from the recent EU-US JHA Ministerial meeting on 1-2 June. Finally, the incoming Slovakian Presidency presented its Justice and Home Affairs priorities. The A Points were then adopted.

Interior Day (10 June) began with a discussion on the draft Weapons Directive, which relates to control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. Supported by other Member States, I intervened to welcome the progress made, but underlined the potential to go even further in ensuring appropriately high standards of regulation. The Presidency concluded that there was support for a General Approach and trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament will now begin.

The Council then turned to the Presidency’s data sharing Roadmap. The Roadmap contains a number of practical proposals aimed at enhancing data sharing between Member States to enhance security and law enforcement, which reflects in particular proposals made by the UK and France. I fully supported the Presidency’s prioritisation of this work to enhance internal security across Europe, particularly the sharing of data between Schengen and non-Schengen Member States. Several Member States supported both my position and the objectives and actions set out in the Roadmap.

The discussion on the fight against terrorism focused on a paper from the European Counter Terrorism Coordinator (EUCTC) which made a number of recommendations to advance work to tackle the terrorist threat. I welcomed the role of the EUCTC in supporting Member States in tackling terrorist finance, online radicalisation and firearms, and stressed the clear difference in mandate and competence between the work of Europol and that of the Member State-driven Counter Terrorist Group (CTG). The CTG, which has provided a multilateral platform to enhance cooperation between independent European intelligence services, also gave a presentation.

The Council noted a report on the implementation of the Renewed Internal Security Strategy and the Presidency updated Interior Ministers on the outcomes of the EU-US JHA Ministerial Meeting on 1-2 June, and the outcomes from the High Level meeting on Cyber Security on 12-13 May.

Over lunch, there was a discussion on migration through the Central Mediterranean route and the Commission presented its Communication on external migration. After lunch, the Council discussed the implementation of the EU–Turkey Statement of 18 March. Supported by the Commission, I intervened to ensure a continued focus in the Council on the effective and full implementation of the Statement by Leaders.

The Council then discussed proposals concerning the relationship between the Schengen states and Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Turkey. There was an exchange of views on these proposals and the Council did not agree a General Approach on Georgia. The UK does not participate in these measures.

Next on the agenda was the European Border and Coast Guard, where the Presidency provided a progress update on negotiations with the European Parliament. The UK does not participate in this measure.

The Commission then presented its proposals to the Council on reform of the Common European Asylum System. Finally, the incoming Slovakian Presidency presented its Justice and Home Affairs priorities to Interior Ministers.

WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Lord O'Neill of Gatley (The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury)
Lords

ECOFIN: 17 June 2016

My honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (David Gauke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council will be held in Luxembourg on 17 June 2016. EU Finance Ministers are due to discuss the following items:

Anti-Tax Avoidance Package

The Presidency will seek a political agreement on a compromise text relating to the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive.

Financial Transaction Tax

An update will be provided on the progress regarding implementing a Financial Transaction Tax in participating Member States. The UK is not taking part in the Financial Transaction Tax.

Strengthening the Banking Union

A presentation will be given on a roadmap regarding strengthening of the Banking Union, alongside an oral update from the Presidency on progress made in Council working groups.

Current Legislative Proposals

The Presidency will update the Council on the state of play of financial services dossiers.

State of play of the Banking Union

The Commission will give an update on several dossiers linked to the Banking Union: the Single Resolution Fund, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive.

Analysis by the Commission on temporary VAT derogations (reverse charge mechanism)

Following a request by the Czech Finance Minister, the Commission will present analysis relating to widening the use of the reverse charge mechanism to combat VAT fraud. This will be followed by an exchange of views.

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

The Council will be asked to endorse the draft decisions to close the Excessive Deficit Procedures for Cyprus, Ireland and Slovenia based on recommendations by the Commission. As these decisions cover euro area Member States, the UK does not have a vote.

Report of the European Court of Auditors on the Excessive Deficit Procedure

Following preparation by the Economic and Financial Committee, the Council will adopt conclusions relating to a European Court of Auditors report on effective implementation of the Excessive Deficit Procedure.

Contribution to the European Council meeting on 28-29 June 2016

The Council will prepare a number of items ahead of June European Council. Specifically, Ministers will endorse the 2016 Country Specific Recommendations, part of the European Semester process.

Following this, views will be exchanged on: National Productivity Boards within the euro area; economic and fiscal governance; unified euro area representation at the IMF; and the Commission’s recent communications on external aspects of migration and the investment plan for Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS43
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Lord O'Neill of Gatley (The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury)
Lords

ECOFIN: 25 May 2016

My honorable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (David Gauke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 25 May 2016. EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Anti-Tax Avoidance Package

Ministers held an exchange of views on a compromise text relating to the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive. Ministers agreed that this file would return to ECOFIN in June for further discussion and possible agreement.

Current Legislative Proposals

The Presidency updated the Council on the state of play of financial services dossiers.

State of play of the Banking Union

The Commission gave an update on several dossiers linked to the Banking Union: the Single Resolution Fund, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive.

VAT Action Plan

The Council held an exchange of views and agreed Council conclusions relating to the Commission’s VAT Action Plan, published 7 April, and a European Court of Auditors Special report.

European Semester

Following preparation by the Economic and Financial Committee, the Council adopted conclusions on the 2016 In-Depth Reviews of macroeconomic imbalances and the implementation of the 2015 Country Specific Recommendations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS44
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Lords Spokesman, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs )
Lords

AGENDA FOR JUNE EU ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs (Rory Stewart) has today made the following statement.

I will attend the EU Environment Council in Brussels on the 20th June, along with my Noble Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change (Lord Bourne).

Following adoption of the agenda, the list of “A” items will be approved.

Under legislative activities the Council will debate a proposal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System. The Presidency will provide a state of play report on the ongoing negotiations with the European Parliament to agree the National Emissions Ceiling Directive.

Under non-legislative activities, the Council will aim to adopt Council conclusions on the EU action plan for the Circular Economy and the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking. They will also discuss a Council statement on the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

The following items are due to be discussed under Any Other Business:

a) NOx emissions by diesel cars

b) Recent international meetings:

i ) High-Level Meeting (Montreal, 11-13 May 2016) and preparations for the ICAO Assembly (Montreal, 27 September–7 October 2016)

ii ) Second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (Nairobi, 23–27 May 2016)

iii ) Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Batumi, Georgia, 8 10 June 2016

c) REACH forward-priorities for effective regulation (Brussels, 1 June 2016)

d ) High-Level Meeting “Make it Work” (Amsterdam, 4 April 2016)

e) Communication on Environmental Implementation Review

f) Global amphibian deaths - combatting the fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) infecting salamanders and newts in the EU

g) Informal meeting of the Environment and Transport Ministers (Amsterdam, 14-15 April 2016)

h )Endocrine disruptors

i) Work programme of the incoming Presidency

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS42
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council (20 June) and General Affairs Council (24 June)

My Right Honourable Friend, the Minister for Europe (David Lidington), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 20 June and I will attend the General Affairs Council on 24 June. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Dutch Presidency. The meetings will be held in Luxembourg.

Foreign Affairs Council

The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include the Arctic, Sahel, Middle East Peace Process and Macedonia. Ms. Mogherini is expected to raise Libya, Burma, Cultural Diplomacy and the forthcoming EU-China Summit in her opening remarks.

The Arctic

The UK will support the proposed Council Conclusions on the Arctic which we expect to be adopted at the Council, following the publication of the Joint Communication on 27 April. The Conclusions acknowledge the important role the EU has in helping to meet the challenges now facing the region, and that the EU should focus on those areas where it can add value, such as research, climate change and the environment.

Sahel

The discussion will focus on the EU’s overall approach to the Sahel, and its support to the G5 Sahel group of countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger). Ministers will consider how to accelerate implementation of the Mali peace agreement one year after its signature. The UK priority will be to ensure the EU’s approach in the Sahel and the instruments at its disposal are focussed on tackling the long-term drivers of instability and migration.

Middle East Peace Process

Ministers will exchange views on the outcome of the international meeting which was held in Paris on 3 June.

Macedonia

Discussion will focus on the longstanding political crisis in Macedonia. We expect Ministers to register their concern about negative developments in the rule of law, and the impact on regional stability, as well as signal to Macedonia’s leaders that they must reverse this negative trend.

Libya

Discussions will focus on extending EU NAVFOR MED Operation Sophia’s mandate to take on two additional tasks: capacity-building and training of the Libyan Coastguard and implementing the UN arms embargo on the High Seas off the coast of Libya.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council (GAC) on 24 June is expected to focus on preparation of the June European Council, European Semester, Inter-Institutional Agreement, Better Regulation and Transparency.

Preparation of the June European Council

The GAC will discuss the agenda for the 28-29 June European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend. The agenda will focus on Migration, Jobs, Growth and Investment, External Relations and the outcome of the UK Referendum.

European Semester

The GAC will look to approve the Country Specific Recommendations ahead of the European Council.

Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA) and Better Regulation

The Commission’s 2017 Work Programme is tabled for discussion at the General Affairs Council ahead of its release in October. The GAC will also discuss legislative programming in future years.

AOB – Slovakia’s Presidency Priorities

The GAC will take note of the draft priorities presented by Slovakia for their EU Presidency, which begins on 1 July. They intend to focus on four areas: Economic and Financial; Single Market; External Relations; and Migration. The Slovak Presidency will continue the work of the Dutch Presidency, and be followed by that of their trio partner, Malta.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS41
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury )
Commons

ECOFIN: 25 May 2016

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 25 May 2016. EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Anti-Tax Avoidance Package

Ministers held an exchange of views on a compromise text relating to the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive. Ministers agreed that this file would return to ECOFIN in June for further discussion and possible agreement.

Current Legislative Proposals

The Presidency updated the Council on the state of play of financial services dossiers.

State of play of the Banking Union

The Commission gave an update on several dossiers linked to the Banking Union: the Single Resolution Fund, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive.

VAT Action Plan

The Council held an exchange of views and agreed Council conclusions relating to the Commission’s VAT Action Plan, published 7 April, and a European Court of Auditors Special report.

European Semester

Following preparation by the Economic and Financial Committee, the Council adopted conclusions on the 2016 In-Depth Reviews of macroeconomic imbalances and the implementation of the 2015 Country Specific Recommendations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS46
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury )
Commons

ECOFIN: 17 June 2016

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council will be held in Luxembourg on 17 June 2016. EU Finance Ministers are due to discuss the following items:

Anti-Tax Avoidance Package

The Presidency will seek a political agreement on a compromise text relating to the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive.

Financial Transaction Tax

An update will be provided on the progress regarding implementing a Financial Transaction Tax in participating Member States. The UK is not taking part in the Financial Transaction Tax.

Strengthening the Banking Union

A presentation will be given on a roadmap regarding strengthening of the Banking Union, alongside an oral update from the Presidency on progress made in Council working groups.

Current Legislative Proposals

The Presidency will update the Council on the state of play of financial services dossiers.

State of play of the Banking Union

The Commission will give an update on several dossiers linked to the Banking Union: the Single Resolution Fund, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive.

Analysis by the Commission on temporary VAT derogations (reverse charge mechanism)

Following a request by the Czech Finance Minister, the Commission will present analysis relating to widening the use of the reverse charge mechanism to combat VAT fraud. This will be followed by an exchange of views.

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

The Council will be asked to endorse the draft decisions to close the Excessive Deficit Procedures for Cyprus, Ireland and Slovenia based on recommendations by the Commission. As these decisions cover euro area Member States, the UK does not have a vote.

Report of the European Court of Auditors on the Excessive Deficit Procedure

Following preparation by the Economic and Financial Committee, the Council will adopt conclusions relating to a European Court of Auditors report on effective implementation of the Excessive Deficit Procedure.

Contribution to the European Council meeting on 28-29 June 2016

The Council will prepare a number of items ahead of June European Council. Specifically, Ministers will endorse the 2016 Country Specific Recommendations, part of the European Semester process.

Following this, views will be exchanged on: National Productivity Boards within the euro area; economic and fiscal governance; unified euro area representation at the IMF; and the Commission’s recent communications on external aspects of migration and the investment plan for Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS47
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Rory Stewart (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs)
Commons

AGENDA FOR JUNE EU ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL

I will attend the EU Environment Council in Brussels on the 20th June, along with my Noble Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change (Lord Bourne).

Following adoption of the agenda, the list of “A” items will be approved.

Under legislative activities the Council will debate a proposal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System. The Presidency will provide a state of play report on the ongoing negotiations with the European Parliament to agree the National Emissions Ceiling Directive.

Under non-legislative activities, the Council will aim to adopt Council conclusions on the EU action plan for the Circular Economy and the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking. They will also discuss a Council statement on the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

The following items are due to be discussed under Any Other Business:

a) NOx emissions by diesel cars

b) Recent international meetings:

i ) High-Level Meeting (Montreal, 11-13 May 2016) and preparations for the ICAO Assembly (Montreal, 27 September–7 October 2016)

ii ) Second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (Nairobi, 23–27 May 2016)

iii ) Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Batumi, Georgia, 8 10 June 2016

c) REACH forward-priorities for effective regulation (Brussels, 1 June 2016)

d ) High-Level Meeting “Make it Work” (Amsterdam, 4 April 2016)

e) Communication on Environmental Implementation Review

f) Global amphibian deaths - combatting the fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) infecting salamanders and newts in the EU

g) Informal meeting of the Environment and Transport Ministers (Amsterdam, 14-15 April 2016)

h )Endocrine disruptors

i) Work programme of the incoming Presidency

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS45
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 15 June 2016
Made by: Mr David Lidington (The Minister for Europe)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council (20 June) and General Affairs Council (24 June)

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 20 June and I will attend the General Affairs Council on 24 June. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Dutch Presidency. The meetings will be held in Luxembourg.

Foreign Affairs Council

The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include the Arctic, Sahel, Middle East Peace Process and Macedonia. Ms. Mogherini is expected to raise Libya, Burma, Cultural Diplomacy and the forthcoming EU-China Summit in her opening remarks.

The Arctic

The UK will support the proposed Council Conclusions on the Arctic which we expect to be adopted at the Council, following the publication of the Joint Communication on 27 April. The Conclusions acknowledge the important role the EU has in helping to meet the challenges now facing the region, and that the EU should focus on those areas where it can add value, such as research, climate change and the environment.

Sahel

The discussion will focus on the EU’s overall approach to the Sahel, and its support to the G5 Sahel group of countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger). Ministers will consider how to accelerate implementation of the Mali peace agreement one year after its signature. The UK priority will be to ensure the EU’s approach in the Sahel and the instruments at its disposal are focussed on tackling the long-term drivers of instability and migration.

Middle East Peace Process

Ministers will exchange views on the outcome of the international meeting which was held in Paris on 3 June.

Macedonia

Discussion will focus on the longstanding political crisis in Macedonia. We expect Ministers to register their concern about negative developments in the rule of law, and the impact on regional stability, as well as signal to Macedonia’s leaders that they must reverse this negative trend.

Libya

Discussions will focus on extending EU NAVFOR MED Operation Sophia’s mandate to take on two additional tasks: capacity-building and training of the Libyan Coastguard and implementing the UN arms embargo on the High Seas off the coast of Libya.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council (GAC) on 24 June is expected to focus on preparation of the June European Council, European Semester, Inter-Institutional Agreement, Better Regulation and Transparency.

Preparation of the June European Council

The GAC will discuss the agenda for the 28-29 June European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend. The agenda will focus on Migration, Jobs, Growth and Investment, External Relations and the outcome of the UK Referendum.

European Semester

The GAC will look to approve the Country Specific Recommendations ahead of the European Council.

Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA) and Better Regulation

The Commission’s 2017 Work Programme is tabled for discussion at the General Affairs Council ahead of its release in October. The GAC will also discuss legislative programming in future years.

AOB – Slovakia’s Presidency Priorities

The GAC will take note of the draft priorities presented by Slovakia for their EU Presidency, which begins on 1 July. They intend to focus on four areas: Economic and Financial; Single Market; External Relations; and Migration. The Slovak Presidency will continue the work of the Dutch Presidency, and be followed by that of their trio partner, Malta.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS44
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 14 June 2016
Made by: Lord Prior of Brampton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of Sta)
Lords

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council in Luxembourg: 17 June 2016

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health (Jane Ellison) has made the following written ministerial statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 16 and 17 June in Luxembourg. The health part of the Council will take place on 17 June in the morning.

The main agenda items will be the adoption of Council conclusions on:

  • Food products improvement;
  • The next steps under a one health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance;
  • Strengthening the balance in the pharmaceutical systems of the European Union and its Member States.

Under Any Other Business there will also be:

Information from the Dutch Presidency on:

  • The state of play of negotiations concerning the Regulations on medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices
  • Public Health Conferences that were organised and held by the Presidency

Information from the Commission on:

  • The European Fund for Strategic Investments and the Investment Plan for Europe
  • The EU response to Zika
  • Health systems performance assessment (HSPA)
  • Proposed new analytical products to support better knowledge and stronger evidence-based policy making, under the banner of the “State of Health in the EU”

Information from the French delegation on the election of the WHO Director-General

Information from the Polish delegation on the European Committee for Standardisation’s (CEN) Work Programme for 2016 with regards to health-related activities

Information from the Slovak delegation on the priorities for their forthcoming Presidency, which will run from July until December 2016

For information, I attach a draft copy of the latest agenda.

Draft Agenda (PDF Document, 85.44 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS40
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 14 June 2016
Made by: Jane Ellison (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council in Luxembourg: 17 June 2016

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 16 and 17 June in Luxembourg. The health part of the Council will take place on 17 June in the morning.

The main agenda items will be the adoption of Council conclusions on:

  • Food products improvement;
  • The next steps under a one health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance;
  • Strengthening the balance in the pharmaceutical systems of the European Union and its Member States.

Under Any Other Business there will also be:

Information from the Dutch Presidency on:

  • The state of play of negotiations concerning the Regulations on medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices
  • Public Health Conferences that were organised and held by the Presidency

Information from the Commission on:

  • The European Fund for Strategic Investments and the Investment Plan for Europe
  • The EU response to Zika
  • Health systems performance assessment (HSPA)
  • Proposed new analytical products to support better knowledge and stronger evidence-based policy making, under the banner of the “State of Health in the EU”

Information from the French delegation on the election of the WHO Director-General

Information from the Polish delegation on the European Committee for Standardisation’s (CEN) Work Programme for 2016 with regards to health-related activities

Information from the Slovak delegation on the priorities for their forthcoming Presidency, which will run from July until December 2016

For information, I attach a draft copy of the latest agenda.

Draft Agenda (PDF Document, 85.44 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS43
WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 13 June 2016
Made by: Baroness Verma (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development)
Lords

St Helena Airport

I would like to update the House on the latest position with the St Helena Airport.

On 10 May, Air Safety Support International (ASSI), the airport safety regulator for the UK Overseas Territories, issued an Aerodrome Certificate to St Helena Airport, having been satisfied that the airport complies with international aviation safety and security standards. The St Helena Airport is therefore open and able to receive flights, as illustrated by the medical evacuation flight on 4 June 2016, which took a baby with breathing difficulties to South Africa for emergency treatment.

This Certificate confirms St Helena airport is classed as Category C, which requires certain conditions to be met for airlines and aircraft operating into St Helena airport. This classification results from challenges of turbulence and wind shear identified on the northern approach during a series of test flights into the airport. Wind shear is a phenomenon experienced at a number of airports around the world e.g. London City Airport. It does not preclude regular flights to those airports once the operational procedures to manage it are in place. These procedures are being developed for St Helena Airport and will include an assessment of the measures used by other airports faced with wind shear.

In the interim, an air access solution to St Helena is being identified using the southern approach to the airport, which does not have similar issues with wind shear. Using the southern approach will require landings with a tailwind. The tailwinds need to be within acceptable limits and there are payload limits depending on the strength of those tailwinds and the type of aircraft used.

While details of the short and medium term options for air access are being developed, and in order to retain access for the people of St Helena, the St Helena Government has agreed to extend the services of the RMS St Helena for a further period beyond its previously planned service date of the end of July 2016.

WS
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Made on: 13 June 2016
Made by: Joseph Johnson (Minister of State for Universities and Science)
Commons

Post Competitiveness Council

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) has today made the following statement.

The Competitiveness Council took place in Brussels on 26-27th May. Under Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Baroness Neville-Rolfe represented the UK during the internal market and industry discussions on day one, with Shan Morgan (UK Deputy Permanent Representative) representing the UK in the research discussion day two.

The Presidency presented on the recent Quantum Technology conference in Amsterdam. This was followed by a presentation by Luxembourg on high performance computing. There was no debate.

The next item dealt with the Commission's online content portability proposal. I have previously made you aware of the UK’s interest in the speedy implementation of this package. The proposal means citizens will be able to watch films, sport and other subscription services while on holiday or working temporarily in another Member State. Following interventions by a number of Member States, the Council agreed a general approach to the regulation. The proposal will now pass to the European Parliament who will agree its position in the coming months which could mean implementation of the proposal by the end of 2017.

At the regular competitiveness check-up the Commission gave a presentation that highlighted the issue of EU productivity. The UK welcomed the presentation and highlighted the link between services and productivity; I spoke about the significant amount of evidence which shows how important services are to economic growth.

The following item was a policy debate on the better regulation conclusions. I spoke for the UK in support of the conclusions, which build on the Commission’s better regulation package released last year. I also welcomed the Commission’s commitment to reduce burdens on business through the introduction of targets.

There was a presentation by Slovakia as the incoming Presidency of the Council of the EU. This was followed by a readout of the recent Friends of Industry Conference in Warsaw. The final Any Other Business item was on the principle of Country of Origin Marking.

The final item on the agenda was a discussion on proposed revisions to the Posting of Workers Directive. There was a divergence of views between Member States. The explanatory memorandum for this proposal was submitted on 24 March.

The Research day of the Competitiveness Council took place on the morning of Friday 27th May.

The plenary opened with a discussion on Framework Programme 7 (FP7, which ran from 2007 to 2013) and the future outlook for research and innovation. Council Conclusions on this topic were approved, noting that the recent evaluation of FP7 will be an important input to next year’s interim evaluation of the successor Horizon 2020 programme.

The meeting also approved Council Conclusions on research and innovation friendly regulation, following a short discussion on the subject.

The Presidency then opened a debate on Open Science, noting that the Council Conclusions called for a transition to open access to publications in Europe by 2020. There was general agreement that the benefits of open access were achievable, though a number of Member States highlighted concerns on practical issues such as remuneration systems for scientists publishing in open access journals. Following the discussion, the Council approved the draft Conclusions.

There followed a presentation from Professor John Womersley (Chief Executive of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, and Chair of ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures). Professor Womersley briefed the Council on ESFRI’s work to develop an updated set of priorities for European research infrastructure.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas followed this with a brief summary of the responses that had been received to the public consultation on his proposal for a European Innovation Council.

Finally the in-coming Slovakian Presidency outlined its priorities on research, which included “support for young researchers”, “implementation of widening participation under Horizon 2020” and “improving the framework conditions for researchers in the EU”.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS40
WS
Department for Energy and Climate Change
Made on: 13 June 2016
Made by: Amber Rudd (Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change)
Commons

Energy Council, Luxembourg 6th June 2016

Today, my noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change made the following statement.

I am writing to report on discussions at the Energy Council held in Luxembourg on 6 June.

The Council, chaired by the Dutch Presidency, featured discussions around a central theme of energy security.

The meeting began with the Council approving a General Approach on the proposed Decision with regard to intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) in the field of energy.

For the second agenda item European Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete opened a policy debate on Gas Security of Supply by calling for improvements to regional cooperation, solidarity and the transparency of commercial gas contracts. This was in order to address vulnerabilities that still exist in the case of major disruptions to gas supplies. Interventions from Member States were mixed; some supported the Commission’s approach whereas others referenced the need for a more flexible, voluntary approach to regional configurations. There was further discussion on the concept of solidarity arrangements and how these would apply not only to EU Member States but to Energy Community States; a group of countries from South East Europe and the Black Sea region.

Later, the Dutch Presidency presented their conclusions on electricity market design which they hoped would provide guidance to the Commission on their proposals due out by the end of the year.

In the afternoon the Council listened to presentations from the Dutch Presidency on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes to promote a longer term, more sustainable market. This was followed by a presentation from the Slovak Minister on their forthcoming Presidency’s work programme.

The Council ended with an update from Commissioner Cañete on recent events in international relations as well as progress on implementing the Commission’s strategy on LNG (liquefied natural gas) storage which is to be implemented later this year.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS41
WS
Department for Energy and Climate Change
Made on: 13 June 2016
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change)
Lords

Energy Council, Luxembourg 6th June 2016

I am writing to report on discussions at the Energy Council held in Luxembourg on 6 June.

The Council, chaired by the Dutch Presidency, featured discussions around a central theme of energy security.

The meeting began with the Council approving a General Approach on the proposed Decision with regard to intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) in the field of energy.

For the second agenda item European Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete opened a policy debate on Gas Security of Supply by calling for improvements to regional cooperation, solidarity and the transparency of commercial gas contracts. This was in order to address vulnerabilities that still exist in the case of major disruptions to gas supplies. Interventions from Member States were mixed; some supported the Commission’s approach whereas others referenced the need for a more flexible, voluntary approach to regional configurations. There was further discussion on the concept of solidarity arrangements and how these would apply not only to EU Member States but to Energy Community States; a group of countries from South East Europe and the Black Sea region.

Later, the Dutch Presidency presented their conclusions on electricity market design which they hoped would provide guidance to the Commission on their proposals due out by the end of the year.

In the afternoon the Council listened to presentations from the Dutch Presidency on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes to promote a longer term, more sustainable market. This was followed by a presentation from the Slovak Minister on their forthcoming Presidency’s work programme.

The Council ended with an update from Commissioner Cañete on recent events in international relations as well as progress on implementing the Commission’s strategy on LNG (liquefied natural gas) storage which is to be implemented later this year.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS38
WS
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Made on: 13 June 2016
Made by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Parliamentary Under Secretary State for Business, Innovation and Skills)
Lords

Post Competitiveness Council

The Competitiveness Council took place in Brussels on 26-27th May. Under Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Baroness Neville-Rolfe represented the UK during the internal market and industry discussions on day one, with Shan Morgan (UK Deputy Permanent Representative) representing the UK in the research discussion day two.

The Presidency presented on the recent Quantum Technology conference in Amsterdam. This was followed by a presentation by Luxembourg on high performance computing. There was no debate.

The next item dealt with the Commission's online content portability proposal. I have previously made you aware of the UK’s interest in the speedy implementation of this package. The proposal means citizens will be able to watch films, sport and other subscription services while on holiday or working temporarily in another Member State. Following interventions by a number of Member States, the Council agreed a general approach to the regulation. The proposal will now pass to the European Parliament who will agree its position in the coming months which could mean implementation of the proposal by the end of 2017.

At the regular competitiveness check-up the Commission gave a presentation that highlighted the issue of EU productivity. The UK welcomed the presentation and highlighted the link between services and productivity; I spoke about the significant amount of evidence which shows how important services are to economic growth.

The following item was a policy debate on the better regulation conclusions. I spoke for the UK in support of the conclusions, which build on the Commission’s better regulation package released last year. I also welcomed the Commission’s commitment to reduce burdens on business through the introduction of targets.

There was a presentation by Slovakia as the incoming Presidency of the Council of the EU. This was followed by a readout of the recent Friends of Industry Conference in Warsaw. The final Any Other Business item was on the principle of Country of Origin Marking.

The final item on the agenda was a discussion on proposed revisions to the Posting of Workers Directive. There was a divergence of views between Member States. The explanatory memorandum for this proposal was submitted on 24 March.

The Research day of the Competitiveness Council took place on the morning of Friday 27th May.

The plenary opened with a discussion on Framework Programme 7 (FP7, which ran from 2007 to 2013) and the future outlook for research and innovation. Council Conclusions on this topic were approved, noting that the recent evaluation of FP7 will be an important input to next year’s interim evaluation of the successor Horizon 2020 programme.

The meeting also approved Council Conclusions on research and innovation friendly regulation, following a short discussion on the subject.

The Presidency then opened a debate on Open Science, noting that the Council Conclusions called for a transition to open access to publications in Europe by 2020. There was general agreement that the benefits of open access were achievable, though a number of Member States highlighted concerns on practical issues such as remuneration systems for scientists publishing in open access journals. Following the discussion, the Council approved the draft Conclusions.

There followed a presentation from Professor John Womersley (Chief Executive of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, and Chair of ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures). Professor Womersley briefed the Council on ESFRI’s work to develop an updated set of priorities for European research infrastructure.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas followed this with a brief summary of the responses that had been received to the public consultation on his proposal for a European Innovation Council.

Finally the in-coming Slovakian Presidency outlined its priorities on research, which included “support for young researchers”, “implementation of widening participation under Horizon 2020” and “improving the framework conditions for researchers in the EU”.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS39
WS
Home Office
Made on: 08 June 2016
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Advocate General for Scotland)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

My rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Dutch Presidency will take place on 9 and 10 June in Luxembourg. The Immigration Minister, the rt hon James Brokenshire MP, will attend the Justice Day and I will attend the Interior Day.

Justice Day (Thursday 9 June) will begin with a discussion on the draft Directive on the supply of digital content. The Presidency will present a paper outlining progress in negotiations. The Immigration Minister will welcome progress on this dossier.

The Presidency will next seek a General Approach on the draft Regulations relating to matrimonial property regimes and registered partnerships. These proposals are being considered under the enhanced co-operation procedure, and the UK does not participate.

The Presidency will seek Member States’ support for the way forward on a range of issues relating to the internal functioning of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The UK is clear that it will not participate in an EPPO.

Next on the agenda will be a progress report on negotiations on the draft Directive on the Protection of the Union’s Financial Interests. The UK has not opted into this Directive.

The Presidency will seek support for the proposal to extend the European Criminal Record Information System (ECRIS) to include third country (non-EU) nationals. The Immigration Minister will intervene to support the principles behind the ECRIS proposal and to emphasise the importance of finding a suitable technical solution.

Over lunch, the Presidency intends to hold a discussion on compensation for victims of crime. It will focus on improving cooperation between Member States’ competent authorities to enhance access to compensation for victims of crime in the EU.

After lunch, the Presidency will seek agreement of Council Conclusions on improving criminal justice in cyberspace and a steer from Ministers on the direction of further work by an expert group, notably around jurisdictional issues. The Immigration Minister will intervene to agree the importance of tackling cybercrime and to stress that best use should be made of existing tools.

The Presidency will present a report setting out a mid-term review of the e-Justice Action Plan 2014-2018.

Under Any Other Business, the Presidency will update on discussions with service providers on tackling online hate speech.

The Presidency will also update Ministers on the recent EU-US JHA Ministerial meeting in Amsterdam on 1-2 June, and the Slovakian Presidency will present its JHA priorities.

Interior Day (Friday 10 June) will begin with a discussion on the draft Weapons Directive, which relates to the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The Presidency will seek a General Approach on this Directive. I will welcome the Presidency’s efforts to reach this position but will continue to press for more restrictive controls on some types of weapons.

The Council will then turn to the Presidency’s data sharing Roadmap. The Roadmap contains a number of practical proposals aimed at enhancing data sharing between EU Member States for JHA purposes, which reflects proposals from the UK and France. I welcome the Presidency’s prioritisation of this work to enhance internal security across Europe.

The next discussion, on the fight against terrorism, will focus on a paper from the European Counter Terrorism Coordinator which makes a number of recommendations, including promoting the role of the Europol Counter Terrorism Centre (EUCTC) in tackling the terrorist threat. I will support the work of the EUCTC in tackling terrorist finance, online radicalisation and firearms, whilst re-asserting the importance of respecting Member State competence in relation to national security.

Next, the Presidency will seek an exchange of views on a report on the implementation the Renewed Internal Security Strategy, which is a Council-led initiative. I support the implementation of the Strategy.

Over lunch, the Presidency will lead a discussion on migration, before a formal agenda item on the implementation of the EU–Turkey Statement of 18 March and on migration through the Central Mediterranean. I will seek to ensure a continued focus in the Council on the effective implementation of the Statement, and that the Council continues to retain oversight of both the levels of migration through the Central Mediterranean and activities to manage this migration.

The Council will then discuss proposals on the relationship between the Schengen states and Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Turkey. The Presidency will seek a General Approach in relation to Georgia and an exchange of views on the other proposals. There are no direct policy implications for the UK as we do not participate in the immigration and border aspects of the Schengen area.

Next on the agenda is the European Border and Coast Guard, where the Presidency will provide a progress update on negotiations with the European Parliament. The UK supports action by Schengen states to improve management of the external border. The UK will, of course, not participate in this Schengen-building measure.

The Council will then turn to a discussion on the situation within the Schengen area as far as internal controls are concerned, based on a report from the Commission covering developments up to March 2016. The UK does not participate in the border elements of Schengen.

Under Any Other Business, the Commission will formally present their proposals to the Council on reform of the Common European Asylum System. No discussion is expected on this item. The Presidency will also update Ministers on the outcomes from the High Level meeting on Cyber Security, which took place in Amsterdam on 12-13 May.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS37
WS
Home Office
Made on: 08 June 2016
Made by: Mrs Theresa May (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Dutch Presidency will take place on 9 and 10 June in Luxembourg. The Immigration Minister, the rt hon James Brokenshire MP, will attend the Justice Day and I will attend the Interior Day.

Justice Day (Thursday 9 June) will begin with a discussion on the draft Directive on the supply of digital content. The Presidency will present a paper outlining progress in negotiations. The Immigration Minister will welcome progress on this dossier.

The Presidency will next seek a General Approach on the draft Regulations relating to matrimonial property regimes and registered partnerships. These proposals are being considered under the enhanced co-operation procedure, and the UK does not participate.

The Presidency will seek Member States’ support for the way forward on a range of issues relating to the internal functioning of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The UK is clear that it will not participate in an EPPO.

Next on the agenda will be a progress report on negotiations on the draft Directive on the Protection of the Union’s Financial Interests. The UK has not opted into this Directive.

The Presidency will seek support for the proposal to extend the European Criminal Record Information System (ECRIS) to include third country (non-EU) nationals. The Immigration Minister will intervene to support the principles behind the ECRIS proposal and to emphasise the importance of finding a suitable technical solution.

Over lunch, the Presidency intends to hold a discussion on compensation for victims of crime. It will focus on improving cooperation between Member States’ competent authorities to enhance access to compensation for victims of crime in the EU.

After lunch, the Presidency will seek agreement of Council Conclusions on improving criminal justice in cyberspace and a steer from Ministers on the direction of further work by an expert group, notably around jurisdictional issues. The Immigration Minister will intervene to agree the importance of tackling cybercrime and to stress that best use should be made of existing tools.

The Presidency will present a report setting out a mid-term review of the e-Justice Action Plan 2014-2018.

Under Any Other Business, the Presidency will update on discussions with service providers on tackling online hate speech.

The Presidency will also update Ministers on the recent EU-US JHA Ministerial meeting in Amsterdam on 1-2 June, and the Slovakian Presidency will present its JHA priorities.

Interior Day (Friday 10 June) will begin with a discussion on the draft Weapons Directive, which relates to the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The Presidency will seek a General Approach on this Directive. I will welcome the Presidency’s efforts to reach this position but will continue to press for more restrictive controls on some types of weapons.

The Council will then turn to the Presidency’s data sharing Roadmap. The Roadmap contains a number of practical proposals aimed at enhancing data sharing between EU Member States for JHA purposes, which reflects proposals from the UK and France. I welcome the Presidency’s prioritisation of this work to enhance internal security across Europe.

The next discussion, on the fight against terrorism, will focus on a paper from the European Counter Terrorism Coordinator which makes a number of recommendations, including promoting the role of the Europol Counter Terrorism Centre (EUCTC) in tackling the terrorist threat. I will support the work of the EUCTC in tackling terrorist finance, online radicalisation and firearms, whilst re-asserting the importance of respecting Member State competence in relation to national security.

Next, the Presidency will seek an exchange of views on a report on the implementation the Renewed Internal Security Strategy, which is a Council-led initiative. I support the implementation of the Strategy.

Over lunch, the Presidency will lead a discussion on migration, before a formal agenda item on the implementation of the EU–Turkey Statement of 18 March and on migration through the Central Mediterranean. I will seek to ensure a continued focus in the Council on the effective implementation of the Statement, and that the Council continues to retain oversight of both the levels of migration through the Central Mediterranean and activities to manage this migration.

The Council will then discuss proposals on the relationship between the Schengen states and Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Turkey. The Presidency will seek a General Approach in relation to Georgia and an exchange of views on the other proposals. There are no direct policy implications for the UK as we do not participate in the immigration and border aspects of the Schengen area.

Next on the agenda is the European Border and Coast Guard, where the Presidency will provide a progress update on negotiations with the European Parliament. The UK supports action by Schengen states to improve management of the external border. The UK will, of course, not participate in this Schengen-building measure.

The Council will then turn to a discussion on the situation within the Schengen area as far as internal controls are concerned, based on a report from the Commission covering developments up to March 2016. The UK does not participate in the border elements of Schengen.

Under Any Other Business, the Commission will formally present their proposals to the Council on reform of the Common European Asylum System. No discussion is expected on this item. The Presidency will also update Ministers on the outcomes from the High Level meeting on Cyber Security, which took place in Amsterdam on 12-13 May.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS39
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 06 June 2016
Made by: Baroness Stowell of Beeston (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

G7 Summit

My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

I attended the G7 Summit in Ise Shima, Japan, on 26-27 May. This was the 42nd G7 Summit, and the third without Russia since its exclusion in March 2014, following the illegal annexation of Crimea.

This was the first summit under Japan’s chairmanship since 2008. Under Prime Minister Abe’s leadership, Japan has focused its G7 presidency on the global economy, regional prosperity and security, quality infrastructure, global health security and women’s economic empowerment. G7 leaders also discussed key issues in foreign policy, trade, energy and climate change, and development. Prime Minister Abe invited leaders from Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Laos, Chad, and the heads of the UN, World Bank, OECD, IMF and African Development Bank to join two sessions on regional stability and development. I had a number of bilateral discussions and formal meetings with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.

The G7 is a group of nations bound together by common values and common principles – freedom, democracy, the rule of law, a belief in open markets and respect for human rights. It is a forum where true democracies and like-minded countries come together for frank discussions on the biggest issues we face.

I went to the G7 Summit with five clear objectives: to push for progress on global trade talks, particularly the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement; to highlight the dangers of increasing global resistance to antibiotics; to encourage G7 leaders to tackle the global scourge of corruption by committing to take forward the outcomes of the UK’s Anti-Corruption Summit on 12 May; to keep up the pressure to defeat Daesh; and to ensure support for continued sanctions pressure on Russia to complete the Minsk agreement. We made good progress on each.

Leaders discussed the substantial benefits new trade agreements would bring for all our citizens. We agreed to make a renewed push on the trade agreement between the EU and the US, and we agreed to reach a political agreement on the EU-Japan trade agreement by the end of the year. This was a significant step forward. I also pushed for progress on plurilateral deals in the WTO on green goods and on services, and on the need for the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement to be implemented, to ensure that the poorest are not left behind.

On the threat from growing resistance to antibiotics, I made clear to leaders the scale of the problem, and the risk that if we do not act on this now, there could be 10 million excess deaths a year by 2050. Last month, Jim O’Neill published his authoritative review on anti-microbial resistance, challenging us all to act now.

As a first step, I announced that the UK has put in place £265 million to track the spread of resistance in developing countries, and £50 million into a global fund for antimicrobial resistance research and development. I also announced that we will cut inappropriate prescribing in the UK by half by 2020, leading the global field in reducing demand for antimicrobials. And the UK will work with international partners to develop a system that incentivises pharmaceutical companies to bring new products to market. The G7 recognised the recommendations of Jim O’Neill’s review in the G7 Ise Shima Vision for Global Health. And I spoke to the World Bank and others about this at the summit.

I continued the push for global action to tackle corruption, and the G7 agreed to take forward a coordinated, ambitious global effort to defeat corruption, endorsing the outcomes of the UK’s Anti-Corruption Summit. The G7 agreed to play a leading role in implementing these actions, and also agreed to a G7 Action Plan to Fight Corruption.

On the global economy, leaders discussed the risks to the world economy and to jobs and growth at home, particularly from the economic transition in China, the problems in some emerging economies, and the consequences should the UK decide to leave the EU. I highlighted the success of our monetary, fiscal and structural reform policies in the UK to reduce the deficit and put the UK back on a path to growth, and made clear the need for each country to choose its macroeconomic policy tools according to national circumstances.



I led discussions among G7 Heads on terrorism and extremism. We agreed that Islamist extremism is the threat of our generation, and that Daesh is the most violent current manifestation. G7 leaders agreed that the international community must keep up the pressure to defeat this terrorist death cult, and endorsed a G7 Action Plan for Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism.

I emphasised that Britain is playing its part in confronting Daesh militarily. Our RAF pilots have now conducted more than 700 airstrikes in Iraq and since December, more than 40 in Syria – which is more than any nation other than the US. With coalition support, Iraqi forces have already retaken over 40% of the territory once held by Daesh. Our intelligence services are cooperating with each other as never before, and at the summit, leaders agreed to do more.

I underlined that we must go beyond fighting terrorism and tackle the root causes of extremism. In the G7 Action Plan for Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, leaders committed to do more to work with the private sector to tackle the poisonous ideology of terrorism online, such as through working with Internet Service Providers and administrators of relevant applications to facilitate counterterrorism investigations and to help prevent the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes to recruit and radicalise young people in our communities. We discussed all of these things and shared ideas with each other.

Leaders underlined that Ukraine is the victim of Russian-backed aggression. G7 leaders were clear that existing sanctions against Russia must remain in place until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented, and that the EU should therefore renew the sanctions currently in place at the June European Council.

G7 leaders discussed the continuing migration crisis in the Mediterranean. We agreed that we must continue supporting jobs and livelihoods in poor and unstable African countries, to try to reduce migratory pressures – and the UK is doing a great deal already in this respect. But we also agreed that we need strong borders and a means to return those who attempt to cross them illegally, often at grave risk to their own lives. In the eastern Mediterranean, on average nearly 2,000 people arrived a day before the EU-Turkey deal was signed. Since then, the average has been fewer than 100 and in May was fewer than 50. Although the agreement remains fragile, it is saving lives and reducing migratory pressures, and needs to be fully supported.



G7 leaders discussed the need to achieve the same objectives on the central Mediterranean route. We are working to agree a plan to boost the capability of the Libyan coastguard. And I announced at the G7 that, once a detailed plan is agreed with the Libyan authorities, the UK will send a training team to assist in its implementation. I also announced that, once the relevant permissions and UN Security Council Resolution are in place, I will deploy a naval warship to the south central Mediterranean to combat arms trafficking in the region. Together these developments will help stabilise Libya, secure its coast and tackle the migration crisis.

Leaders also discussed energy and climate change, and reiterated the need to move ahead with the momentous agreement agreed in Paris last November to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees. Leaders underlined the importance of increasing women's education and training, as well as providing greater access to science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, as set out in the G7 Guiding Principles for Building the Capacity of Women and Girls.

Finally, leaders underlined the need to continue supporting the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Leaders agreed that we must leave no one behind, and agreed that the 2030 Agenda lays the foundation for a more peaceful, stable, inclusive and prosperous international community. Significantly, G7 leaders reiterated their respective commitments to providing 0.7% of Gross National Income in overseas development assistance, where the UK is the only member to be meeting this target.

This was a successful summit for the UK, and I look forward to working with the Italian G7 Presidency to take forward many of these important issues at next year’s G7 summit, which Prime Minister Renzi announced would be held in Sicily.

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