» Friday, May 12, 2006

EU-Latin America Summit in Vienna

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that when the Prime Minister arrived in Vienna, he had met the Taoiseach informally. He then went to a session with Prime Minister Bachelet of Chile, and he then met President Lula of Brazil. The Prime Minister would also meet President Fox of Mexico, as well as Chancellor Merkel. The Prime Minister had attended the first working session on climate change and energy this morning, and he would have informal discussions with several other leaders over a lunch. This afternoon, the Prime Minister would attend a working session on trade, and there would also be a session with President Barosso of the European Commission as well. The PMOS said that as people could see, he had also done a short press conference, with the main focus being on trade, and pensions.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what the Prime Minister had said about pensions, the PMOS replied that what reflected the Prime Minister's view was that we needed to take a step back and recognise that deciding the future of pensions was one of the biggest decisions and issues that the Government could face. With the help of Lord Turner, however, we did now have a basis for moving forward within Government. The basis was that the Prime Minister believed this would form the core of the consensus in the country as a whole about the way to move forward on pensions. The final details were being worked out, but we would see again the link with earnings within the broad timescale as outlined by Lord Turner. The PMOS said that he was not going to get into further details, as the final details were still being arranged, but there was a broad agreement within Government, and it was a significant achievement by any standard.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Human Rights Act

Asked if the Human Rights Act had been abused by some criminals and lawyers, the PMOS replied that as he had said yesterday afternoon, first and foremost, we had to address the question that had been raised by legal experts, that we should not mix up the Human Rights Act and the European Convention, and we had to be careful about that. Secondly, we should recognise that other countries in Europe were signatories to both, and they did not have the problems that we had. These were matters that in particular cases were being tested before the courts, and the Prime Minister had made clear his determination to do everything to ensure that public safety and public concern on these matters was addressed, and he would continue to do so.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

President Chavez-Latin America

Put that last time President Chavez visited in 2001 he saw The Queen and the Prime Minister, but this time, he was not doing so, and was the complete breakdown of communication with a major oil producer a good thing, the PMOS replied that in terms of the visit, it was a private visit, and he was not going to comment on private visits. With regards to Latin America as a whole, yes, countries like Venezuela were important countries, but we should not lose sight of the overall picture in Latin America, and the overall direction there. If people looked at the role President Lula, or President Fox, for example, was playing, it was a vitally important role. The dialogue took place at many different levels throughout Latin America, and we should not lose sight of that picture.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

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