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Electronic Devices

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many electronic devices are owned by the Department, broken down by type. [207683]

Mr. Rammell: As at 31 March 2004, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's fixed asset register showed that it owns:

These items may be single or grouped assets with an individual value of £3,000 or more. A full record of electronic items of less than £3,000 in value held by the Department's global network of posts could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

E-mails

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his Department's policy regarding the retention of e-mails in electronic form (a) after and (b) up to 1 January 2005; and what instructions have been given regarding the deletion of e-mails prior to 1 January 2005. [206961]

Mr. Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Guildford (Sue Doughty) on 11 January 2005 (UIN 206760). There has been no change to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) policy on retention or deletion of e-mails since 1 January 2005. E-mails required for the official record are stored in the FCO's electronic records management system.

EU Conventions (Ratification)

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Conventions agreed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have not been ratified by the UK since 1997. [207219]

Mr. Rammell: The UK has signed but not yet completed the ratification process of the following Council of Europe Conventions since 1997:


 
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EU Member States (Borders)

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those areas of (a) current and (b) prospective EU member states where border definition is in dispute. [207074]

Mr. MacShane: Border definition (ie the demarcation of borders between two internationally recognised sovereign states with an adjoining territorial or maritime border) is politically disputed as follows:

(a) Current EU states:

(b) Prospective EU states (in addition to those listed above):

In addition, Cyprus joined the EU as a divided island on 1 May 2004. The EU acquis is suspended in northern Cyprus which Turkey recognises as the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

EU Sugar Regime

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has undertaken studies of the possible impact of the proposed reform of the EU sugar regime on the internal security situation in Jamaica in relation to the flow of narcotics and illegal weapons to the United Kingdom. [206923]

Mr. Rammell: We are aware of concerns about the implications of reform to the EU sugar regime for the Jamaican economy and society. We have discussed these concerns with the Jamaican Government at a senior level, and with other interested parties.

In recognition of the impact that reform of the EU sugar regime will have on African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) sugar producers, the European Commission has undertaken to initiate dialogue with the affected ACP countries, including Jamaica, on the basis of an Action Plan. This will be used to define appropriate accompanying measures. These are likely to include financial assistance and help with diversification where restructuring and improvements in competitiveness in the sugar sector are not sustainable.

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department plans to discuss with the Jamaican Minister of National Security in January 2005 the possible effects upon the security situation in Jamaica of a drop in the price for sugar under the EU Sugar Regime. [206938]

Mr. Rammell: The Jamaican Minister for National Security plans to visit the UK in January 2005. We expect discussions to cover cooperation with Jamaica
 
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and other Caribbean states on security matters, and to include the impact on Jamaica of reform to the EU Sugar Regime.

European Constitution

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to paragraph 17 of the Explanatory Memorandum on the EU constitutional treaty, if he will make a statement on the stopwatch start point for the six-week review period for Parliament; and how this power differs from existing mechanisms. [207098]

Mr. MacShane: Under the subsidiarity mechanism set out in the EU constitutional treaty, the six-week review period would start from the date of transmission of a draft European legislative Act. This would ensure that national parliaments have an active voice in the EU's law making procedures at EU level for the first time. Article 7 of the Protocol on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality sets out how this would work in practice:

In practice any proposal meeting such opposition would be very unlikely to prosper.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which amendments proposed by the Government to the draft European constitution were not accepted during the Convention stage; and what the text was of the articles in question (a) in the text submitted by the Convention and (b) in the final text. [207100]

Mr. MacShane: Full details of all amendments proposed during the Convention on the Future of Europe are available on the Convention website: www.european-convention.eu.int. The draft treaty published by the Convention, also on the website, includes those amendments which were accepted by the Convention. The final treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was placed in the Library of the House on 8 December 2004 (Command Paper 6429). The Government will shortly publish an analysis of the EU constitutional treaty indicating which parts of the EU constitution correspond to provisions in the existing treaties and which parts are new. Beyond this, the Government do not propose to further process this publicly available information, since it could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the Presidencies that will exist under the European constitution; what budgets each will manage; how many civil servants each will have; and if he will make a statement. [207264]


 
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Mr. MacShane: The constitutional treaty provides for the replacement of the existing six-monthly rotating Presidency by a "Team Presidency" system. A European Council decision attached to the Treaty in a Declaration provides that all Councils (other than the Foreign Affairs Council) will be chaired by a team of three member states holding the Presidency for 18 months. The cost of each Presidency would continue to be met by the relevant host government(s) which would also continue to determine the number of civil servants it allocates to EU work during its Presidency. The Constitutional Treaty also introduces a new full time President of the European Council, to be elected by and accountable to the members of the European Council. Since the Treaty has not yet come into force, arrangements regarding funding and staffing of the Office of the President of the European Council have not yet been agreed.

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 21 December 2004, Official Report, column 1620W, on the EU Constitution, whether a possible reweighting of votes under the proposed EU Constitution was discussed with the German Chancellor by (a) the Prime Minister and (b) a Foreign Office Minister. [208355]

Mr. MacShane: No.


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