§ Mr. Pike
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the excess of the bid for objective 2 status based on EC target population; what discussions will take place with the EC to reduce the list to meet the target population specified by the European Commission; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what criteria is used by the European Commission to reduce the list of proposed objective 2 areas to meet the target population as specified by the Commission;
(2) what is the total population of the proposed objective 2 areas; and what is the amount by which that total exceeds the target population for objective 2 areas in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
The procedure is governed by article 9 of Council Regulation 2081/93, which
- (a) sets out various statistical criteria for objective 2 areas;
- (b) requires each member state to "propose" a list of areas;
- (c) requires the Commission to "establish" the list taking into account the national priorities and situations, in close consultation with the Member State concerned, arid after consulting an advisory committee of all member states; and
- (d) stipulates that assistance should be genuinely concentrated on the areas most seriously affected
The last is known as the "principle of concentration". A recital of the regulation, which is not legally binding, says that objective 2could cover up to 15 per cent. of the Community population".The previous regulation contained a similar recital, but the actual coverage was then 16 per cent.
I understand that the proposals of all member states together amount to 22 per cent. of the Community population. Neither the Council regulation nor the Commission specifies target populations in individual member states.
I shall shortly be meeting the Commissioner responsible. Our consultation will be governed by article 9 of the Council regulation.