Thursday 3 October 2019
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EU Environment Council
My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, the Minister for Climate Change (Lord Duncan of Springbank) has today made the following statement:
The next EU Environment Council will take place on 4 October, in Luxembourg. I will attend, representing the UK. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform of the Scottish Government, Roseanna Cunningham, will also attend.
On climate items, the main focus will be a debate and adoption of Council conclusions on the EU’s preparations for the 25th session of the conference of the parties (COP25) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), to be held in Santiago de Chile, Chile, on 2-13 December 2019. There will then be a policy debate on the proposed EU long-term strategy on climate, “Clean Planet for all: EU’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy”.
On environment items, there will be a debate and adoption of two Council conclusions: one on the EU’s 8th environmental action programme and the other on the framework for a circular and sustainable economy.
Any other business (AOB) will include information from the Commission and the Presidency on three items:
Current legislative proposal (information from the presidency): common techical requirements for the type approval of motor vehicles and their replacement parts with regard to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles; and
Communication on stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests (information from the Commission); and
Reports on main recent international meetings (information from the presidency and the Commission): 18th meeting of the conference of the parties (COP 18) to the convention on international trade in endagered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), Geneva, 17-28 August 2019.
There are currently three member state-led AOBs:
Transition to a fleet of zero emission passenger cars (information from the Danish delegation);
Regulation on taxonomy sustainable finance (information from the German, Luxembourg, and Austrian delegations); and
7th high-level dialogue meeting of the China-Europe Water Platform, Guimarães, 7-8 November 2019 (information from the Portuguese delegation).
Bilateral Loan to Ireland
I would like to update Parliament on the loan to Ireland.
In December 2010, the UK agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion as part of a €67.5 billion international assistance package for Ireland. The loan was disbursed in eight tranches, and the final tranche was drawn down on 26 September 2013. Ireland has made interest payments on the loan every six months since the first disbursement.
On 30 September, in line with the agreed repayment schedule, HM Treasury received a total payment of £406,324,326.08 from Ireland. This comprises the repayment of £403,370,000 in principal and £2,954,326.08 in accrued interest.
HM Treasury has today provided a further report to Parliament in relation to the loan as required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010. The report relates to the period from 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2019. It reports fully on the three principal repayments received by HM Treasury during this period, and sets out details of future payments up to the final repayment on 26 March 2021. The Government continue to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.
A written ministerial statement on the previous statutory report regarding the loan to Ireland was issued to Parliament on 1 April 2019, Official Report, column 29WS.
Exiting the European Union
General Affairs Council
The UK did not attend the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels on 16 September 2019.
The UK Government have decided that from 1 September until exit day, UK Ministers and officials will only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of the discussions.