» Friday, July 20, 2007


The Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) began by running through three points to come out of the Prime Minister's meeting with President Sarkozy earlier today. Firstly, the joint committee with the French on counter terrorism whichwill now meet quarterly. Secondly, there would be a joint initiative on the environment with the Chancellor and the French Finance Minister to lobby the European Commission to allow reduced rates of VAT on environmentally friendly goods. And thirdly a joint Franco-British communiqué on Darfur had been issued following this morning's meetings. David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister would travel to New York shortly to push for a UN Security Council resolution on Darfur, and for that process to be accelerated. It was agreed by both parties that we should hold open the threat of sanctions if the Sudanese Government did not cooperate, but we would work jointly together with the French on a package of economic support, and the possibility was also raised of the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy visiting Darfur at some point in the future.

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

Police Inquiry

Asked for a comment on the "cash for honours" inquiry, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister had commented at this morning's press conference in Paris and there was nothing to add.

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

Green VAT

Asked for more details on the green VAT, the PMS replied that this was something that we had been pushing for for a while, and we were very glad that we had French support for this. The Prime Minister, when he was Chancellor, and obviously that continues now he is Prime Minister, was always very keen to ensure that there were carrots as well as sticks in terms of incentivising people to behave in an environmentally friendly way. He always felt frustrated as Chancellor that he was not able to introduce more tax incentives to encourage environmentally friendly measures. One of the reasons for that was because we were constrained under EU law by the range of products on which lower rates of VAT can apply. We were calling for, and we were very pleased that the French were supporting us on this, the list of products that are eligible for lower rates of VAT to be extended to include environmentally friendly products.

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

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