§ Mr. Gummer
To ask the President of the Board of Trade when she plans to meet her German counterpart to explain the environmental advantage of reducing and then eliminating subsidies on coal. 
§ Mr. Battle
I have noted with concern a report by the World Bank indicating that subsidies for coal in the OECD area are associated with 1.5 per cent. of the total CO2, emissions. German subsidies account for the bulk of 420W this. I mean to press for the elimination of all coal subsidies throughout the European coal and steel community by the time the ECSC is wound up in 2002, and I will support the Commission vigorously in ensuring progressive reduction in state aid paid to the European coal industry over this period.
It is not our policy to subsidise UK coal producers, nor to tolerate subsidised imports into the UK, whether from Germany or elsewhere. UK coal is by far the lowest cost coal produced within the ECSC, and is generally accepted as the only ECSC production with a long-term prospect of viability. I am therefore concerned that UK coal exports should not be disadvantaged over the period to 2002 by subsidies given to other ECSC producers; and we will press the Commission to deny approval to such state aids, unless arrangements have first been put in place for removing any consequential market distortions against UK coal available for sale within the ECSC.