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Eastern Europe (Pollution)

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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61.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking in assisting eastern European countries to tackle environmental pollution.

In a meeting of EC and eastern European Environment Ministers in Dublin on 16 June, at which I represented the United Kingdom, I made clear the United Kingdom's determination to play a full part in tackling the appalling environmental problems of eastern Europe. We are already active in the multilateral PHARE Poland and Hungary Assistance for Economic Restructuring—programme co-ordinated by the European Commission. This has earmarked £216 million for restructuring the economies of Poland and Hungary, more than a sixth of it for the environment, and we have provided key experts for fact-finding missions. I am hopeful that a significant proportion of the £144 million allocated to extending the programme to other eastern European democracies will stimulate environmentally sound projects and investments.In addition, my Department is working closely with the United Kingdom know-how fund. We have sent a local government mission to Poland and discussed co-operative action with the British water industry. We have invited representatives of industry, environmental groups, universities and the media to a seminar next month on all aspects of environmental help. I have also invited the Polish and Czech Environment Ministers to this country in the autumn after which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I hope to visit east Europe to see for ourselves what needs to be done.