HL Deb 13 July 1999 vol 604 cc40-2WA
Lord Islwyn

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps have been taken to give effect to the decision by the General Affairs Council on 26 April to impose additional restrictive measures against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [HL3628]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

The additional measures against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia agreed by the Council of Ministers on 26 April included:

  • a travel ban on President Milosevic, his family, all Ministers/senior officials of the FRY and Serbian governments, and on persons, included in a specific list, close to the regime whose activities support President Milosevic;
  • a comprehensive flight ban between the European Community and the FRY;
  • extension of the scope of the freeze of funds held abroad by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbian governments to cover individuals associated with President Milosevic and companies controlled by, or acting on behalf of, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbian governments;
  • prohibition of provision of export finance by the private sector further to the existing moratorium on government-financed export credits set out in Common Position 98/240 of 19 March 1998;
  • extension of the investment ban set out in Council Regulation (EC) no. 1607/98;
  • WA 41
  • widening the scope of the prohibition on the export of equipment for international repression and its extension to include goods, services, technology and equipment for the purpose of restoring/repairing assets damaged in airstrikes;
Member States also agreed to discourage the participation of the FRY in international sporting events.

A Common Position (1999/318/CFSP) confirming these measures was adopted and came into force on 10 May. A Council Decision (1999/319/CFSP) listing those individuals to be covered by the travel ban was adopted and came into force the same day. Immediate steps were taken to implement the ban in the UK.

The Council adopted a Regulation (1064/1999) imposing a ban on flights between the European Community and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 21 May 1999. This entered into force the following day and repealed and replaced the provisions of Regulation No. 1901/98, as amended. The ban allows for exemptions, subject to a consultation procedure, for strictly humanitarian purposes.

On 15 June the Council of the European Union adopted a further Regulation (1294.99) concerning a freeze of funds and a ban on investment in relation to the FRY. The Regulation came into force on 19 June. The regulation provides that:

  • funds held outside the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and belonging to the Government of the FRY and/or to the Government of the Republic of Serbia shall be frozen; and that
  • no fund shall be made available, directly or indirectly to or for the benefit of, either or both, those governments.

For the purpose of the Regulation "Government of the FRY" and "Government of Serbia" are broadly defined to include companies, undertakings, institutions and entities owned or controlled by those governments, and persons acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of those governments. Annexes list individuals and companies who are deemed to fall within this definition.

The Regulation allows for certain specified exemptions.

The Regulation applies to any person who is national of a Member State, to any body which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a Member State, on board an aircraft or any vessel under the jurisdiction of a Member State and within the territory of the Community and its airspace.

The Regulation is directly applicable in the UK and repeals Regulations No. 1295/98 and No. 1607/98. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Freezing of Funds and Prohibition on Investment) Regulations 1999, which came into force on 25 June, give practical effect to the EC Regulation in the UK and provides for criminal penalties if the provisions of the EC Regulation are infringed.

The Council also decided on 26 April to widen the scope of the prohibition on the export of equipment to include provision and export of certain goods, services and technology to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to prevent the restoring/repairing assets damaged in airstrikes. In line with this decision and pending the preparation of a Regulation to implement it, the UK, while continuing to scrutinise individually all applications for licences to export dual-use goods to the FRY, has granted licences only where the goods are to be used for clearly humanitarian purposes. Following the Council decision, the Commission and member states began preparations to adopt the necessary Regulation. This work has been put on hold, following the end of NATO's military campaign against the FRY. The UK practice remains in place.

The Government has taken all necessary steps to discourage participation by teams representing the FRY in sporting events in the UK.