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3 Jun 2003 : Column 241W—continued

Convention on the Future of Europe

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the United Kingdom plans to repatriate powers in the new constitution for the EU. [116160]

Mr. MacShane: I refer the honourable Member to the answer I gave him on 11 March 2003, Official Report, column 157W.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his interpretation is of the statement that the Member States shall support the Union's external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity, in the EU treaties and draft constitution. [116165]

Mr. MacShane: Article 11.2 of the existing Treaty on European Union commits Member States to


Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what constitutes an action contrary to the interests of the Union, in the CFSP Article 3 of the draft EU constitution. [116166]

Mr. MacShane : Draft Article 3 of Part III of the draft EU Constitution reproduces language in the existing Treaty on European Union (TEU). Article 11.2 TEU states that


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Correspondence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. [115882]

Mr. Rammell: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not have a separate Ministerial Correspondence Unit. There are however Correspondence Clerks in each of the Ministerial offices as follows:


Democratic Republic of the Congo

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his Answer of 3 February 2003, Official Report, column 7W, on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whether he has received the further information requested from the UN Expert Panel. [116213]

Mr. Rammell: The UK Government have not received any of the requested information from the UN Expert Panel on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Since 3 February, the UK Government have made several further requests to the Panel for information. On 11 March the UK's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN asked for specific information relating UK linked companies and individuals to the exploitation of natural resources in the DRC. The UK's National Contact Point for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has asked the Panel on several occasions, including at the OECD's conference in Paris on 11 April, for details of communications with UK linked companies alleged to have breached OECD guidelines. Officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote to the Chair of the Panel on 29 May asking for evidence supporting the allegations against UK linked companies and individuals.

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a decision will be made on whether to provide British troops for a United Nations military force tasked with restoring peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [116471]

Mr. Rammell: We can confirm that the UN has asked the UK and others to participate in an Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF) to stabilise the

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situation in Bunia (Ituri region of north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo). We think it important to contribute to this force, to support the UN and the DRC peace process. The UK will therefore participate in the IEMF. We are in consultation with those involved about the most appropriate and effective contribution the UK can make.

Drugs/Piracy

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with governments in the Far East regarding (a) drug crime and (b) piracy; and if he will make a statement on the threat of crime in the region. [115166]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: There have been no recent ministerial discussions on drug crime or piracy with Far Eastern Governments.

The Government are concerned at the level of piracy reported from the region and have participated in initiatives to raise the profile of this problem. In 2002, the UK and Philippine Governments took the lead in organising an EU-ASEAN Experts meeting on piracy and crimes at sea. Last year, the FCO sponsored delegations from the region to attend an international seminar on maritime violence. The UK continues to press the European Commission and EU Partners to follow up initiatives against this form of crime.

We monitor the regional threat to UK interests from other forms of organised crime. In response, we have concluded an agreement with the Chinese Government to post a Liaison Officer from the National Crime Squad to our embassy in Beijing. In addition, the remit of the regional Drugs Liaison Officer based in Hong Kong is being widened. He will in future cover serious crimes such as money laundering, the criminal facilitation of illegal immigration, the export of precursor chemicals for the production of class A drugs, the activities of paedophiles and the production and smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes.

East Africa

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Ethio-Eritrea Border Commission about the drawing of the border near Badme; and if he will make a statement. [116136]

Mr. Rammell: None. The Boundary Commission is an independent judicial body. It made its decision on the position of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea in April 2002. We have called on both Ethiopia and Eritrea to implement fully the Algiers Peace Agreements and to accept the Boundary Commission's decisions as final and binding.

Efficiency Savings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114116]

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Mr. Rammell: Efficiency targets for 2003–04 were set in Spending Review 2000. For 2003–04, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has an efficiency target of 3 per cent. which was calculated to be £29.53 million in money terms, based on the funding baseline before that Spending Review.

Eritrea

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Eritrea regarding the release of political prisoners held since September 2001; and if he will make a statement. [115738]

Mr. Rammell: We remain concerned at the human rights situation in Eritrea. Our Ambassador in Asmara raises the issue of detainees regularly with the government of Eritrea, both bilaterally and with EU Partners. My noble Friend the Baroness Amos, then Minister for Africa, met the Eritrean Ambassador on 19 March and highlighted these concerns. Officials also discussed the issue of detainees with the new Eritrean Ambassador on 21 May. We will continue to press the Eritrean government on this issue.

EU Initiatives

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money from (a) mainstream EU programmes and (b) special EU initiatives has been allocated to (i) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, (ii) Teesside and (iii) the Government Office of the North East region in each year since 1997. [114399]

Alan Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

Three sets of data are shown in the table that provide the information requested. The data has been assembled from a number of programme management databases and give an accurate as possible assessment of the funding provided to Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Teesside and Government Office of the North East.

Area/YearMainstream Special Total
Middlesbrough and SE Cleveland
199736,37311,051
199861,918
199982,375
2000
2001
200261,810
2003116,812
Total359,28811,051370,339
Teesside
19972,276,778111,854
19987,651,1281,286,108
199940,390,8762,915,741
20001,660,4820
20011,423,307218,061
200216,635,03042,300
20039,353,423
Total79,391,0244,574,06483,965,088
Government Office NE
199714,767,4704,029,911
199837,587,3555,303,382
1999197,687,89114,779,607
200019,186,1981,976,164
200114,692,127772,676
200276,824,399773,368
200337,520,8177,017,064
Total398,266,25734,652,172432,918,429

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