Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (50)

John Bruton

Question:

172 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the reports (details supplied) that the Governments of Britain, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Belgium are seeking to block or dilute EU draft directives on nuclear waste and nuclear safety; if he will take the matter up bilaterally with the Governments in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30237/03]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The Commission has proposed two draft directives setting out the basic obligations and general principles on the safety of nuclear installations, and on the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, which together comprise proposals for a nuclear safety package. Discussions on the directives, which began last year, are continuing in the European Council's atomic questions working group. The Irish Presidency will continue, through dialogue, to seek and develop consensus on the draft directives. There are, however, diverse views among member states and it would be inappropriate to comment on the negotiating positions of any particular member state in this regard.

To find compromise on the difficult issues addressed in the draft directives, flexibility will be needed to accommodate the different views of member states. The Presidency will be guided by the discussions at working group level in seeking to find an acceptable compromise on, and satisfactory outcome for, the Commission proposals.