§ 16. Mr. Hardy
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will next meet the President or the Prime Minister of France to discuss the policy of that Administration to the partial travel arrangements now in place and their effect on members of those EC states which are members of the Council of Europe.
§ Mr. David Davis
My right hon. Friend has no current or immediate plans to meet either Mr. Mitterrand or Mr. Balladur.
§ Mr. Hardy
Is the Minister aware that, in October, the Committee of Ministers at the Council of Europe agreed to investigate travel arrangements and that, since then, it has been established that the travel concessions for Members of the European Parliament are in place as a result of an instruction from the French Government? That hardly represents an acceptable situation since the taxpayers of member states have to pay twice as much as Members of the European Parliament when travelling to Strasbourg on official business.
§ Mr. Davis
I am well aware of the problem raised by the hon. Gentleman. I understand that my noble Friend Lord Finsberg raised it at the February plenary session. The chairman of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has undertaken to pursue the matter with the French authorities and I am perfectly willing and happy to take the matter up with my opposite number when I see him.