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European Council, Stockholm

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:05 pm on 26th March 2001.

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Photo of Baroness Jay of Paddington Baroness Jay of Paddington President of the Council, Privy Council Office 4:05 pm, 26th March 2001

My Lords, I hope that my noble friend will forgive me. I did not say that I was not responsible for the policy. I am obviously not responsible for the policy. What I said was that the detail of the 30 degrees west issue, raised by the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, in terms of the extension of air traffic control, was not one on which I had specific briefing. As far as I know, it was not specifically raised.

Perhaps I may repeat to my noble friend the exact terms of what was in the Stockholm understanding; namely, that the United Kingdom fully supported this initiative. If my noble friend does not approve of the overall title, I have already apologised to my noble friend Lord Shore for misspeaking when I said "the open skies". If he is concerned about "open" or "single" skies, that may simply be about the title. But I repeat what I said both to my noble friend Lord Shore and to the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit. This is seen as a rather mechanistic device that is crucial for improving the use and management of EU air space. That is why it is called for completion by the year 2004. I repeat my rather lay person's analogy that this is an attempt to remove the log-jam in European air traffic control across Europe, particularly that which develops on a seasonal basis.