§ Sir Michael Grylls
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the outcome of the EC Telecommunications Council on 21 March. 
§ Mr. Ian Taylor
The deputy UK permanent representative to the European Union represented the UK at the Telecommunications Council held in Brussels on 21 March.
Following the unanimous political agreement reached at the last Telecommunications Council, the Council agreed a common position on a series of guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks. The Council also reached political agreement on a draft directive on interconnection in telecommunications—Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg opposed. A short debate followed on a Commission communication on directories and other telecoms information services in a competitive environment. The Presidency adopted conclusions calling on member states and the Commission to continue to monitor developments in the sector.
The Presidency gave a progress report on discussion of a draft directive to amend the open network provision framework and leased lines directives 90/387/EEC and 92/44/EEC to a competitive environment. The Commission made a brief presentation of its communication on universal service for telecoms in a competitive environment. A draft decision for EU action on satellite personal communications services was referred back to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further discussion. There was also an informal lunchtime discussion on the progress of multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organisation on basic telecommunications with Sir Leon Brittan.