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European Spatial Development Perspective

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to (a) take forward the European Spatial Development Perspective and (b) obtain European Minister's views on urban issues. [15912]

Our aim under the UK Presidency is to complete, in co-operation with other Member States, the draft European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP). The intention is for this to be agreed by EU Ministers at their informal meeting to be held during our Presidency, in June 1998.The ESDP is the result of collaboration between Member States and the European Commission to promote an integrated approach to spatial development through partnership, co-operation and sharing expertise. A partially completed draft was agreed by Ministers at Noordwijk in June 1997 as a basis for consultations now taking place within each country. This is now on the Internet. In the UK we have invited interested bodies to take part in a series of seminars to discuss the draft document with others and to send us their written views by 31 December.During December and January, I will undertake a series of bilateral meetings with other European planning ministers and with the Commission and other European institutions, to discuss with them the results of their national consultations. These meetings will seek to ensure that Member States will be in a position to agree the draft ESDP at their meeting in June. Some of these bilateral meetings will be handled by my hon. Friend the Scottish Office Minister with responsibility for local government, housing and transport, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North and Leith (Mr. Chisholm).The UK is also planning a European initiative on urban issues based on good practice experience. We will prepare the initial phase of a possible guidance framework on selected aspects of urban policy in consultation with other Member States. This will form the basis for discussion at the EU ministerial meeting in June.