HC Deb 15 July 1993 vol 228 cc1097-8
3. Dr. Godman

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last discussed with his ministerial colleagues from other member states of the European Community the question of additional financial assistance being given to the Court of Auditors and the European Court of Justice; and if he will make a statement.

The Paymaster General (Sir John Cope)

The last formal meeting of the Budget Council of Ministers was on 16 November 1992, when we discussed the 1993 Community budget, including provision for the Court of Auditors and Court of Justice. Since then, discussions have proceeded informally and through officials.

Dr. Godman

Are Ministers aware of the serious difficulties encountered by the European Court of Justice in ensuring the timeous translation of cases submitted to it by member states, the opinions of its advocate-generals and its own judgments? Does he agree that there is no point in seeking to ensure that the European Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors carry out their work in ensuring compliance with Community law if they are so badly financed by member states by way of the budget?

Sir John Cope

I am certainly aware of some of the delays that take place in the Court of Justice, although they do not occur so much in the Court of Auditors. Both institutions have had increases in financial assistance of an average of 10 per cent. a year for the past couple of years. I do not think that is bad and it means that they do not need such a large increase this year.

Mr. Sykes

Will my right hon. Friend consider ceasing financing the antics of the European Court of Justice altogether and does he think that it is right for it to sit in judgment of the tourist beaches in Britain, especially when so many Mediterranean coastlines and beaches are awash with sewage?

Sir John Cope

One cannot agree with all the judgments that courts make, but that is not a reason for ceasing to finance them or abolishing them altogether.

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