§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken in relation to the European Commission's decision to make 1997 the European Year Against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-semitism; and if he will make a statement. 214W
§ Mr. Kirkhope
The decision to make 1997 the European Year Against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-semitism was taken by member states of the European Union in July 1996 and is fully supported by the United Kingdom.
I am chairing the national co-ordinating committee for the year in the United Kingdom. The committee met for the first time on 2 December and meets again on 26 February.
The year was launched at European level on 30 and 31 January at a conference in The Hague at which I led the United Kingdom delegation. I shall also be hosting the launch of the year in this country which will take place at Lancaster house on 19 February.
The Government are working closely with the Commission for Racial Equality in the running of the year. The Home Office is providing specific funding to the Commission for Racial Equality to run a helpline and information service. A newsletter has been issued and details of funding available from the European Commission are now being disseminated. We are also in the process of pulling together a calendar of events: this will be sent out shortly and updated periodically throughout the year.