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24. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on progress on the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. 
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral statement of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 1005, on the EU constitutional treaty, if he will list the articles of the Maastricht treaty under which the European Defence Agency was established; and what the basis was for his statement that the European Defence Agency is not in the EU constitutional treaty, with particular reference to article I-41(3) of that treaty. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Defence Agency was formally established on 12 July 2004 by a unanimous decision by Heads of State and Government. It was established under the Council Joint Action 2004/551/CFSP on the basis of article 14 of the treaty on the European Union (Maastricht).
The establishment of the EDA is referred to in the text of the constitutional treaty (article IV/438). If and when the constitutional treaty comes into force it will provide a new legal base for the EDA; unless and until that time the Council Joint Action is sufficient legal base.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received concerning raids and arrests in late May by Chinese police in house churches in the Changchun area of China; and what representations he has made to the Chinese Government. 
We are concerned about the issue of religious freedom in China. During his most recent trip to China in January 2005, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised progress on the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which contains provisions on freedom of conscience and religion. The case of house church leader, Pastor Zhang Rongliang, was also discussed.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the UK Government plan to monitor implementation of the UN human rights recommendations referred to in the UNCHR Chair's Statement on Colombia; and if the Government will take steps to ensure that appropriate (a) international organisations and (b) other countries take steps to monitor the implementation of those recommendations through an appropriate six months monitoring mechanism. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The United Nations Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) Chairperson's statement on Colombia calls for the prompt implementation of UN human rights recommendations. Although it does not specifically seek to establish a formal six months monitoring mechanism to help achieve this aim, the international community will continue to closely monitor progress in implementation of the recommendations. They will do so through the regular contacts which the G24, the group drawn from participants the 2003 London meeting of international support for Colombia which includes the EU, has with the Colombia office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, the Colombian Government and Colombian and international civil society. The international community will also continue to look for ways to encourage and assist the Colombian Government to improve the human rights situation in Colombia.
Mr. Douglas Alexander
[holding answer 20 June 2005]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met with Mrs. Alden, Craig's mother; and her then Member of Parliament, the former Member for Cambridgeshire, North-West, (Sir Brian Mawhinney), in April 2004. The Foreign Secretary has since been regularly updated on this case. Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials maintain a regular dialogue with Craig's family and have twice met with Mrs. Alden in the last four months.
21 Jun 2005 : Column 910W
Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer 20 June 2005]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to his Brazilian counterpart on 30 March regarding Mr. Alden's case based on conclusions in the reports produced by Mr. Alden's pro bono lawyer. The Foreign Secretary's letter is being followed up by our Ambassador in Brasilia on a regular basis.
Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer 20 June 2005]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has never discussed the case of Mr. Craig Alden with the Brazilian Ambassador. He wrote to the Brazilian Foreign Minister about Mr. Alden's case on 30 March.
Ian Pearson: It would be premature to speculate on the final outcome of the Ethiopian election. The National Electoral Board is still investigating reports of irregularities in some 300 constituencies. We will await the final assessment of the EU Election Monitoring Mission on the conduct of the election.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the causes of civil unrest in Addis Ababa following the announcement of the provisional results of the recent parliamentary election. 
Ian Pearson: The civil unrest appears to have been caused by the delay in confirming the results of the 15 May elections and the allegations of malpractice. The parties have now agreed on the procedure for the investigation of complaints to enable the National Electoral Board to complete its work impartially. We have urged all the parties to respect the constitutionally established law and the democratic institutions and to exercise restraint.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Union does not have any embassies overseas and there are no plans to open any. However, the European Commission has 123 missions to third countries, five missions to international organisations, four representations and offices, and seven technical offices. These represent the EU in areas of Commission competence such as external trade and European Commission development assistance. The first Commission overseas mission was established in 1954.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Defence Agency was established in July 2004. Its budget from July 2004 to the end of 2004 was €1.8 million. The Agency has a budget of €19.9 million for 2005. For 2005 the United Kingdom will pay €3,596, 803, met from the Ministry of Defences's budget.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Defence Agency was formally established on 12 July 2004 by a unanimous decision by Heads of State and Government. It was established under the Council Joint Action 2004/5 51/CFSP on the basis of Article 14 of the treaty on the European Union (Maastricht).
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Agency has a budget to employ 80 staff in 2005. The UK has worked to ensure that staffing levels in the EDA remain low. The EDA's chief executive is Nick Witney, a former UK Ministry of Defence civil servant.
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