To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the informal European Council in Athens on 16 April. 
I attended the Informal European Council in Athens on 16 April.The centrepiece of the meeting was the signature by the member states and the Accession Countries of the Treaty which formalises their membership of the European Union. After ratification in all the countries the new member states will formally join the Union in May next year. In the meantime they will participate as active observers in most of the Union's meetings.I expressed my unreserved welcome for enlargement and the contribution which it makes to the democratic stability of Europe and to its prosperity.The European Council heard a report from the Chairman of the Convention, President Giscard d'Estaing, on progress so far. The Council reaffirmed its
|(1)Central government support to BR in 1976 Public Expenditure Survey prices||(2)Central government support to BR in cash prices||(3)External finance requirement (EFR) of BR in cash prices||(4)EFR of BR and, since privatisation, central government support to rail industry in cash prices||(5)Total rail investment in cash prices|
commitment to the successful completion of the Convention by the June meeting of the European Council.
The European Council took the opportunity to discuss Iraq in the presence of the Secretary General, Kofi Annan. We reaffirmed the view the UN should play a central role in Iraq; that Iraqis should progressively be involved in the management of their country and that the EU would consult on the contribution it could make beyond the humanitarian assistance already being offered.
I had separate bilateral meetings with the UN Secretary General, with the Irish Prime Minister and the President of the Commission.