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Volume 131: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress has been made in discussions with other partner Governments about future management of the Airbus programme.

The partner Governments have recently received a report by a small group of senior advisers, colloquially known as the "wise men", which the Airbus Ministers had asked to consider how the management of Airbus programmes should develop over the next years. I attended a meeting of the Airbus Ministers in Madrid yesterday at which we began our consideration of that report. We approved the principles underlying the report as a basis for future discussion and invited Airbus Industrie and the partner companies to put forward proposals and a precise schedule in order to put in place the new organisation before the end of 1988. We expect to receive and discuss those proposals at the next meeting of Airbus Ministers in Hanover on 5 May.I have arranged for copies of the report to be placed in the House of Commons Library.