» Tuesday, December 13, 2005

EU Rebate

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that we would be publishing a revised version of our proposals tomorrow morning.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

EU Budget

Asked if the Foreign Secretary would be saying anything on the budget proposals at the Foreign Affairs Select Committe, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said not on any new proposals. They would come tomorrow. The Foreign Secretary would be able to talk to the Select Committee about our approach in general, which he was happy to do. Asked when the next proposal would be presented, the PMOS said we were aiming to publish it on Wednesday.

Asked if putting forward proposals on the eve of talks was a tactic or a sign that things were going wrong, the PMOS said it was neither. It was a reflection of what was normal practice for negotiations of this sort. It was in line entirely with how the EU had approached these matters in the past. The presidency in Luxemburg's case had six negotiating boxes. If we had two that was an indication of the reverse of what was suggested. It remained the case that nobody was going to think that this was their ideal deal. But what we hoped was that people would recognise that it was the only realistic deal that could be on offer now. In terms of the accession countries it was important that they got access to their money now not at some theoretical point down the line.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Iraq

Asked whether the Prime Minister concurred with Major General Dutton, the commander in charge of MNDSE, who said it was realistic that troops could come home in 6 months, the PMOS said he had not heard the specific comments. However, in relation to the Times story of today, he was surprised that they thought it was a front-page lead. Our position all along had been that as and when the Iraqi forces were capable of taking the load then that was when it would be possible to think about them taking the burden rather than our troops. The future of the process of "Iraqi-isation" and the future of Iraq would be decided at 33,000 polling booths this week in Iraq. When we started the process of "Iraqi-isation" we had said the Multinational Force would work in cooperation with the Iraqi Government and it was the Iraqi Government that would decide the pace of change.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Other Business

The PMOS welcomed the unanimous agreement today at the EU Competition Council on the REACH (Regulation, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) agreement, which was something we had been seeking for some time. In particular we welcomed the role of the new German administration in reaching agreement today.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Today Programme

Asked whether he had listened to John Humphries this morning and what he thought about the Lord Falconer interview, the PMOS said he had not listened to it. There was however a certain level of concern about the two-way on education which suggested that the Government was in some way re-introducing selection at 11 years of age. This was definitely not the case and that had been conveyed to the BBC. Asked if the two-way had been broadcast at 6.07am, the PMOS looked very sternly at the reporter.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

IB Reform

Asked about the Telegraph story, the PMOS said it was rubbish. He had met the Secretary of State in passing at No10 this morning and he had been even blunter in his dismissal. Asked in that case whether the plan was still radical, the PMOS said that the plan was precisely to have a radical white paper.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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