|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Franchise payments to and from each train operating company for each year since 199596 are included in the Strategic Rail Authority's 200304 Annual Report, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1453W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on the persecution of religious minorities, specifically Christians, in Bangladesh; 
Mr. Alexander: We continue to be concerned about the situation of religious minorities, including Hindus and Christians, in Bangladesh. I raised these concerns with the Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia, on 21 December during a visit to Dhaka. We regularly raise issues of religious persecution and intolerance with the Bangladeshi authorities, both bilaterally and with EU colleagues. We urge them to ensure minorities are suitably protected, that all incidents are promptly and fully investigated, that the perpetrators of crimes against religious minorities are brought to justice and that firm action is taken against incitement. We shall continue to do so.
Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps (a) the Government and (b) the EU are taking to tackle human rights abuses by the military junta in Burma. 
The UK played a key role in drafting last year's UN General Assembly Human Rights Resolution on Burma. The Resolution, adopted by the UN in December, condemned the many human rights abuses in the country, including against ethnic groups.
I met the Burmese Ambassador on 29 November 2004 and pressed for political reform in Burma, full respect for human rights and the need for all groups in Burma, including ethnic nationalities, to play a full part in national reconciliation.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs gave to the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) on 7 February 2005, Official Report, column 1310W.
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1454W
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the United States Administration on its policy on the requirement of the European Union that there will need to be official recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: Since the EU's decision to open EU accession negotiations with Turkey on December 17, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not personally discussed relations between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus with the United States Administration. However, our officials maintain regular contact with the United States on all matters relating to the East Mediterranean.
Recognition of the Republic of Cyprus is not a requirement for opening or conducting accession negotiations with Turkey. But the Foreign Secretary and I have made it clear that a situation in which there are two member states of the EU who do not recognise each other is unthinkable.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how much was paid to consultants carrying out staff surveys in the Department in each year since 1997; 
Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office carried out staff surveys in 1997 and 1999, covering all UK based staff, and in 2004 covering all UK based staff and those employed locally by our Embassies and High Commissions overseas. The total expenditure on these three surveys was £85,394. Of this, consultants' costs were £30,000 for the 1999 staff survey, £25,917 for the 2001 staff survey, and £19,463 for the 2004 staff survey. The remaining costs of £10,014 relate to printing and associated costs.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 26 January 2005, Official Report, column 427W, on the European Constitution, what the names and proposed budgets are for (a) the PR agency, (b) partnership marketing and (c) e-communications organisations engaged by his Department to promote the European Constitution. 
(c) An agency for e-communications has not yet been appointed. The proposed budget for e-communications is £80,000. All of this activity is part of normal work to provide information to the UK public about the EU.
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1455W
(2) if he will explain the Government's intendedprocedures for parliamentary ratification of decisions taken by the European Council on the basis of paragraphs 1 or 2 of Article IV-444 of the EU Constitution. 
Mr. MacShane: Clause 2 of the European Union Bill creates a requirement that any initiative for a decision to amend the Treaty made under Article IV-444 must be approved by Parliament in order for it to be recognised in domestic law. The House of Lords will be granted a minimum of 20 sitting days to consider any proposed change and deliver an opinion to the House of Commons. Parliamentary approval will then be signified by approval of a resolution by the House of Commons.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he sought legal advice regarding the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights within the EU Constitution on industrial relations law in the UK. 
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights within the EU Constitution on industrial relations law in the UK. 
Mr. MacShane: I refer my hon. Friend to the written statement that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made on the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights on 9 September 2004, Official Report, columns 133136WS, which made it clear that the Charter will have no practical impact upon UK industrial relations law or the rights of UK workers.
The provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms are addressed to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union with due regard to the principle of subsidiarity, and to the member states only when they are implementing Union Law. The Charter does not extend the scope of application of Union Law beyond the existing powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union. Nor does it modify powers and tasks defined in the other parts of the Constitutional Treaty, which specifically excludes EU action on legislative areas such as pay, the right of association, the right to strike and the right to impose lock-outs.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|