§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action the Government will take to ensure 97W those sectors of the British economy previously benefiting from European Structural Funding will continue to benefit under the new Agenda 2000 proposals, with particular reference to KONVER. 
§ Mrs. Roche
[holding answer 27 January 1998]: The Government welcome the European Commission's continuing support under the proposed new Objective 2 for regions undergoing restructuring. We would like to see a fair balance, ideally determined at the national or regional level, of the available resources between deprived industrial, urban and rural areas. The communication "Agenda 2000", published on 16 July 1997, outlined in general terms the Commission's approach to these regions. However, the details will not be clear until the Commission publishes detailed proposals for Structural Fund reform in March or April. In the negotiations that follow, we will be asking the Commission how the new Objective 2 will be sufficiently flexible in its approach to areas heavily dependent on a single sector, such as defence. The Government are currently undertaking regional consultations with interested parties to hear their views on the implications in the UK of Structural Fund reform.