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European Crisis Management

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for the EU Council to establish an intergovernmental council fund for European military and non-military crisis-management operations outside the control of the Commission and the European Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [29633]

Mr. Hoon: Discussions are continuing between EU member states over the financial arrangements to be put in place for European military and any non-military crisis management operations under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. No decisions have yet been reached.

European Defence

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to transform the informal meeting of EU defence ministers into a formal defence council meeting; and if he will make a statement. [29637]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 736W. There are no plans to transform informal Defence Ministers' meetings into a formal council.

We expect informal meetings of EU Defence Ministers to continue, and the General Affairs Council provides a forum for formal decision-making as and when required.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the EU military exercise programme covering the period 2001 to 2006. [29634]

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Mr. Hoon: The exercise programme is confined to political/military decision making procedures. There are no plans to hold separate EU field exercises.

European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) procedures will be exercised for the first time in May 2002. This exercise will test top level co-ordination and the decision-making procedures of the ESDP bodies, including the Political and Security Committee, the EU Military Committee and the EU Military Staff. In 2003 there are plans to hold another exercise at this higher strategic level with EU and NATO bodies, and a workshop to examine the role of deployable force headquarters at the operational level.

Beyond that, the EU envisages further exercises, expanded to include testing of the linkages and procedures between the higher strategic level structures and potential operational headquarters for EU-led operations, such as SHAPE or national headquarters like the UK's Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood. However, no detailed exercise planning beyond 2002 has been carried out.

EU troop exercises are unnecessary, as current programmes of national, NATO and bi or multi-lateral exercises are already sufficient to generate the capabilities that the EU is likely to require.

Armed Forces (Marital Status)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what programmes are run by the RAF, the Army and the Royal Navy to assist service men and women who are experiencing relationship breakdown; and if he will make a statement. [27676]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 23 January 2002]: The services rarely interfere or become directly involved in matrimonial or relationship disputes, unless requested to do so by the parties concerned, as these are essentially a private matter. Nevertheless, each service places great importance on the welfare of service families, recognising the significant contribution they make as well as the deleterious effects of mobility and separation aspects of service life. Consequently, there is a range of welfare facilities able to provide help and support on a wide range of issues, including relationship breakdown if requested. The service welfare organisations liaise with Relate at local level and provide those service personnel seeking professional marriage guidance counselling with an early referral.

With the naval service personnel are able to meet with a professional from one of the Navy's caring organisations: the Naval Personal and Family Service (NPFS) or the Naval Chaplaincy Service (NCS). The NPFS employs qualified social workers able to offer direct advice, counselling, support (practical and emotional) and advocacy on behalf of clients.

Within the Army, the main source of help is through the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association—Forces Help (SSAFA-FH), a charity contracted to provide a range of professional welfare services, particularly overseas. Army personnel also have access to other

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welfare organisations, available at most garrisons, as follows: the Army Welfare Service (AWS), the Army Families Federation (AFF) and the Army Families Advice Bureau (AFAB). In Germany, the Army also provides funding for dependants to return to the UK to be trained in marriage guidance counselling by Relate; this then provides an additional resource in theatre.

As with the other two services, the RAF has no programmes in place specifically to provide assistance to those experiencing relationship problems. However, there are a number of networks and organisations available to individuals or couples able to provide support and guidance if requested. These include the SSAFA-FH RAF(UK) Social Work Service which has staff based on 32 Stations in the UK. The RAF has recently launched a community support website that gives practical information and links to organisations which may be able to provide the necessary help and guidance. The website,, is designed to tackle issues that may contribute to relationship problems.

Gulf War

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to apply for funds, in order to assist UK service men, from the seized assets of Saddam Hussein made available by the US Government for anybody affected by the Gulf war. [29379]

Dr. Moonie: I have no such plans. The Ministry of Defence cannot use frozen Iraqi funds to pay compensation to individuals who have suffered as a result of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Only a small percentage of the Iraqi funds frozen by the UK authorities under UN resolutions actually belong to the Iraqi Government, the bulk belonging either to businesses or private individuals who are resident in Iraq. UN resolutions do not allow the use of these funds in this way.

Claims against Iraq were handled by the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC). The UNCC imposed a deadline for the submission of claims of 1 January 1995. Claims from UK claimants to the UNCC were submitted via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Claims Section.

I cannot comment on the policy of the US Government towards their own personnel.

Territorial Army

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 9 January 2002, Official Report, column 828–29W, on the Territorial Army, when he will write to the hon. Member for New Forest West. [29839]

Dr. Moonie: I wrote to the hon. Member on 23 January.


Public Relations Consultants

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by (a) his Department and (b) bodies for which it is responsible on external public relations consultants in each of the last four years. [27396]

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Mr. MacShane: The total expenditure by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on external public relations consultants in the last four years was:


(5) Financial year to date

The bulk of the expenditure in 2000–01 relates to the "Know Before You Go" public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging UK travellers to be better prepared when travelling overseas.

Among the FCO's executive non-departmental public bodies, only the British Council has engaged such consultants in the same period. The costs were:


(6) Taking December 2001 as the last month

The figure for 1998–99 includes costs connected with the British Council's "Vision" project. The project looked at re-defining the Council's purpose and strategic direction and examining its visual identity.

Saville Inquiry

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what costs have been incurred by his Department to date in connection with the Saville inquiry; and what his estimate is of the final cost to his Department. [29589]

Peter Hain: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has incurred no direct costs in connection with the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

A few staff spend a small amount of time dealing with issues relating to the inquiry, but they absorb this task into their normal duties, so staff time costs are not separately calculated.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans the Government have to co-operate with the European Parliament's inquiry into the foot and mouth outbreak. [29771]

Peter Hain: The Government are ready to co-operate with the Temporary Committee that has been appointed by the European Parliament to inquire into the recent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. We await news of how the committee intends to proceed.

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