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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the conclusions of the current Quinquennial Review of Wilton Park Executive Agency. 
Mr. Hain: The first stage of the review of Wilton Park has recommended that Wilton Park should retain its status as an Executive Agency of the FCO. Ministers have accepted this recommendation. The review has been conducted by Sir Robin Fearn KCMG. The first stage of his report is available on the FCO's and Wilton Park's websites. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes have been made to the composition of the United Kingdom Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. 
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Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on disclosure of matters relating to the rights of former inhabitants of Diego Garcia arising from their length of association with the islands; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Battle: The papers relating to the exclusion of the Ilois from the British Indian Ocean Territory were disclosed in the recent High Court proceedings. The conduct and openness of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was commended by the Court.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he received export licence application No. 16047 from Aylesbury Automation; when he expects to give a decision on the application; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many essays (a) critical of further political integration in Europe and (b) opposed to UK membership of the European Union were (i) submitted and (ii) awarded prizes in his Department's competition, "What Europe Means to Me". 
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if potential entrants to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office competition, "What Europe Means to Me", were informed that essays critical of closer political integration in Europe would be accepted. 
Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 15 December 2000, Official Report, column 300W, what unpublished agreements there are with (a) other countries, (b) the EU and (c) NATO concerning arrangements for the European Rapid Reaction Force. 
Mr. Vaz: The objective of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy is that EU nations, co-operating together, should be able rapidly to deploy troops for crisis management operations, where NATO as a whole is not engaged. This will not involve the establishment of a standing rapid reaction force, let alone a European Army. The decisions listed in my previous answer constitute the framework for this initiative. The EU and NATO will need to reach an overall agreement, covering
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arrangements for consultation, NATO support for EU-led operations, security issues and capabilities. An interim agreement on security measures was reached between the EU Council Secretariat and NATO in July 2000, to allow for the exchange of classified information.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has negotiated an opt-out for North Sea oil from the provisions of Article 100(1) TEC, to which QMV was extended at the Nice Council. 
Mr. Vaz: There was no need for an opt-out to be negotiated. The United Kingdom has sovereign rights over its North Sea reserves under international law, and the EC Treaty does not confer competence on the Community to claim ownership of or control over them. Article 100(1) TEC cannot be used to displace the framework of rights existing under international law.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guarantees he has obtained on the interpretation of the no bail out clause in Article 100(2) TEC, to which QMV was extended at the Nice Council. 
Mr. Vaz: The Government negotiated a specific declaration linking Article 100(2) TEC with Article 103. Article 103 makes clear that a member state shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of other member state Governments or other member state public bodies, except in the case of mutual financial guarantees.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason references to the Western European Union were deleted from paragraphs one, two and three of Article 17 TEU, as set out in the provisional Nice Treaty. 
Mr. Vaz: In an enlarged EU it is not reasonable for one member state to hold up all the others wishing to proceed with enhanced co-operation, provided that the rigorous conditions for enhanced co-operation have been met. These provide that enhanced co-operation is open to all and that the single market is protected; and will help ensure that there is no development of an inner core.
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In addition the appeal clause we secured allows a member state to seek discussion by the European Council of a proposal for enhanced co-operation before any decision is taken. This is the right balance between the interests of member states and the benefits of greater flexibility in an enlarged EU.
Mr. Vaz: Incentive measures, such as the exchange of best practice or information between member states, are exactly what we are encouraging the Commission to pursue. Extending QMV to these will facilitate co-operative action on non-discrimination. This is an agenda that the Government are keen to pursue. But, at our insistence, the Treaty makes explicit that QMV cannot be used for any harmonisation of national legislation or regulation.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under the provisional Clause A agreed at the Nice Council, dealing with the general principles of enhanced co-operation, for what reason it was decided (a) to insert a new condition relating to co-operation and the process of integration and (b) to delete the condition relating to the interests of states not participating in the relevant measures. 
Mr. Vaz: Clause A of the provisions on enhanced co-operation is intended to reinforce the point that enhanced co-operation should serve the interests and objectives of the Union as a whole, rather than a small group of member states.
The reference to enhanced co-operation not affecting the interests of non-participating members states was felt potentially to be a cause of legal uncertainty, because it could give rise to spurious legal challenges to enhanced co-operation by non-participating member states. This would not be in the UK's interest.
The European Court of Auditors recommended such a Statute in its recent report into the funding of political groups in the European Parliament. The proposal for a Statute has the support of the main groups in the European Parliament, including the party of European Socialists and the European People's Party.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of the EU and its member states of increasing the number of (a) Commissioners to a maximum of 27 and (b) MEPs to 732, as agreed at the Nice Council. 
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Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason it was decided to extend Article 137 of the Treaty of European Communities to cover measures designed to encourage co-operation on the modernisation of social protection systems without prejudice to point (c), and for providing for agreement by QMV, as agreed at the Nice Council. 
Mr. Vaz: QMV under tiret (k) of Article 137 is limited to co-operation between the member states. Harmonisation of their laws and regulations is explicitly excluded. It makes sense to exchange information with our partners and encourage the development of modern and sustainable social protection systems. This was one of the goals we agreed at Lisbon. QMV will make it easier to bring it about.
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