Prorogation – in the House of Commons at 5:36 pm on 11th November 1999.
Over the last year, my Government have played a leading role in the European Union. They have continued to strengthen bilateral relations with our partners. My Government have welcomed the entry into force of new treaty provisions, which strengthen the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy and have welcomed the appointment of the first High Representative. In cooperation with other Member States, they ensured a successful outcome to the Agenda 2000 negotiations that maintained the United Kingdom's budget abatement.
My Government have maintained strong and modern defence for Britain based on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. They played a leading role in the decisions taken at NATO's 50th Anniversary summit in Washington to modernise further and prepare the Alliance for the challenges and opportunities it will face in the new century.
My Government have played a leading role in securing international agreement to reduce further the debt burden of very poor countries. My Government have put into place a strategy to increase the proportion of the United Kingdom's bilateral development assistance going to low income countries and to increase the focus of the multilateral agencies on the reduction of poverty. An Act has been passed to convert the Commonwealth Development Corporation to a public-private partnership enabling it to make a larger contribution to development by channelling increased private sector investment into the poorest countries.