|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work is being done by (a) his Department and (b) the EU Commission on proposals for (i) an EU Diplomatic Service, (ii) an EU President, (iii) an EU Foreign Minister, (iv) an EU Defence Agency and (v) implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; what the legal basis is in each case; and when work began. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander
[holding answer 13 June 2005]: There have been official level discussions between member states, the Commission and the Council Secretariat on preparations for a European External Action Service" since October 2004. No conclusions have been drawn. The Commission and the High Representative have produced an issues paper" and progress report on the European External Action
15 Jun 2005 : Column 477W
Service. This preparatory work was specifically requested by the Heads of State and Government in October 2004 and December 2004.
No work has been undertaken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the proposed posts of the European Council President and EU Foreign Minister beyond internal analysis of the implications of these proposals for the UK. It is not for the Government to comment on any internal work by the Commission on either of these two posts.
The European Defence Agency was established in June 2004 under the provisions of the Treaty on European Union following the unanimous agreement of Heads of State and Government in June 2003. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office contributes to the work of the Ministry of Defence in agreeing work plans for the European Defence Agency. A representative of the European Commission is a member of the European Defence Agency Steering Board, and the Agency liaises with the Commission in its work on the European defence industry and security research.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights would be implemented in the UK by the Bill proposed to give effect to the Constitutional Treaty (the European Union Bill). The Government's current intentions with regard to that Bill were set out by the Foreign Secretary in his statement to the House on 6 June 2005, Official Report, columns 99192, on the EU Constitutional Treaty.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Negotiations on the draft Directive for Services in the Internal Market are still at an early stage. The proposal is currently being debated in the European Parliament, which is due to complete its First Reading in early autumn. We then expect a revised Commission proposal which will form the basis for further negotiations. The UK remains a strong supporter of the Directivewe will continue to work with the Commission, the Parliament and EU partners to produce a measure that opens up the European services market and reduces barriers to business across the continent.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is regarding (a) the country of origin principle and (b) the freedom of establishment principle within the EU directive on services. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK strongly supports the Directive on Services in the Internal Marketthere is vast untapped potential in the services sector, which accounts for over two-thirds of EU Gross Domestic Product.
The country of origin principle is an important means to facilitate the temporary provision of services across borders. This is of particular relevance to small businesses, which need to be able to enter new markets on a temporary basis without committing themselves to the full costs of establishment.
15 Jun 2005 : Column 478W
The UK strongly supports proposals in the draft directive for simplifying administrative procedures and screening authorisations for establishment. These measures will reduce bureaucracy, make it easier for service providers to become established in other member states, and complement the EU and UK better regulation agenda.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the Europe Directorate's budget for developing a longer-term communications strategy for financial year 200405 has been spent; what work has been completed; what further work is planned; and if he will make a statement on the Government's long-term communications strategy for informing the public about the EU, including the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: I refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's statement made to the House on the EU Constitutional Treaty on 6 June 2005, Official Report, columns 99192.
All of the money allocated for developing a longer-term communications strategy in financial year 200405 has been spent. The money has been used to develop a communications strategy on the EU. No final decisions have yet been made on communication activities on the EU Constitutional Treaty for financial year 200506.
Ian Pearson: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary announced on 15 December 2004, Official report, columns 137140WS that the British embassy in Antananarivo will close shortly After closure relations with Madagascar will be covered from our High Commission in Port Louis, Mauritius. We intend to appoint an honorary consul in Antananarivo.
Dr. Howells: There are no plans for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to hold discussions with the Lebanese authorities once the elections are completed there on 19 June. However, our embassy in Beirut has regular contact with representatives of the Lebanese authorities, and I spoke briefly with Foreign Minister Hammoud during the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership ministerial meeting in Luxembourg, and hope to see the Lebanese ambassador later this month.
Mr. Philip Hammond:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the
15 Jun 2005 : Column 479W
private finance initiative and public private partnership projects his Department is undertaking; and what the status of each is. 
1. Global CrossingProvision of a worldwide telecommunications network for a term of ten years from 10 May 2000. The total estimated value of the contract is £236 million. The present unitary payment charged to the operating cost statement is £25 million per annum. This is an off-balance sheet charge and can be viewed in the FCO 200304 Resource Accounts on the FCO websiteathttp://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/KFile/FCOResourceAccounts200304,0.pdf
2. ArteosIn respect of the building, operation and maintenance of the British embassy in Berlin for a term of 30 years from 23 June 1998 with an option to extend for a further 30 years. The total estimated value of the contract over its lifetime is £131.5 million. The current unitary payment is £4.5 million per annum. This is mainly an on-balance sheet charge and can be viewed in the FCO 200304 Resource Accounts on the FCO website at http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/KFile/FCOResourceAccounts200304,0.pdf
3. Hewlett PackardThe FCO awarded a contract to Hewlett Packard in February 2005 to become the FCO's strategic partner for the provision of its global IT infrastructure. The value of the contract is £179 million over seven years.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements are in place to ensure that bodies within the responsibility of his Department comply with the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. 
Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has just published a revised Race Equality Scheme 200508 which is available on our website, www.fco.gov.uk. This scheme sets out how the FCO will meet its obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, and lists the FCO's non-departmental public bodies to whom the RR(A)A applies.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|