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16. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs What discussions he has had with EU counterparts on the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Hong Kong. 
Ian Pearson: My ministerial colleagues and I meet regularly with our EU counterparts. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Round is often discussed in that context. Ahead of the ministerial conference in Hong Kong, EU Foreign Ministers discussed the issue at several meetings chaired by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry chaired meetings of EU Trade Ministers in Hong Kong
17. Mr. David Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of Albania's prospects for becoming an applicant country for membership of the European Union. 
Dr. Howells: The EU confirmed in June 2003 that the future of the Western Balkans lies in Europe. Albania has been negotiating a Stabilisation and Association Agreement since January 2003 as a first step towards realising its EU aspirations. Albania's progress toward the EU is conditional on implementing reforms, especially those needed to tackle organised crime and corruption.
20. Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further steps his Department is taking to encourage other Governments to give financial support to Afghanistan. 
Dr. Howells: We routinely lobby countries for financial support for the Government of Afghanistan's counter narcotics programmes. We have also lobbied for Afghanistan election funding on behalf of the UN.
The UK is playing a leading role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We will host a London Conference on Afghanistan on 31 January1 February, co-chairing with the UN and the Afghan Government. The conference will seek continued international support for Afghanistan.
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Dr. Howells: 2005 marked the midpoint of the Lisbon Agendaand saw real progress on Better Regulation and the Services Directive and agreement on REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals), balancing the interests of the environment with the competitiveness of EU industry. There remains a need to build momentum behind reform. Member states have underlined their commitment to this by submitting individual Lisbon National Reform Programmes.
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Lebanon on 45 January and was concerned by the extent to which Syrian behaviour still dominates Lebanon. For this reason we support the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
Dr. Howells: On 31 March 2005, we were aware of 2,764 British nationals in detention overseas. This, which is the most recent definitive figure we have, includes detainees on remand, as well as those serving custodial sentences.
Ian Pearson: The Government are concerned about limitations on freedom of religious belief in China and the treatment of religious practitioners, including the political re-education" of monks and nuns in Tibet. We regularly raise our concerns with the Chinese Government. We did so at the last UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in June 2005. Freedom of religion was a focus of the last EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which took place under the UK presidency in October 2005. I spoke at length about the persecution of Christians in China during an Adjournment debate on 5 July 2005. The EU Troika raised freedom of religion with the Chinese Government in Beijing on 29 December. Individual cases of concern were raised at this meeting and at the Dialogues. We will continue to raise our concerns about religious freedom with the Chinese authorities at every appropriate opportunity.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action has been taken under the UK's EU presidency to advance the European Parliament's resolution of 8 September on
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religious freedom in China, with particular reference to the calls for the release of Pastor Zhang; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Government remain concerned about freedom of religion in China. Progress was made in advancing the European Parliament's resolution on this matter in a number of respects during the UK presidency. Freedom of religion was a focus of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in October 2005. The UK presidency led a follow-up EU demarche in Beijing in December 2005. Several individual cases were raised at the Dialogue and in the demarche, including that of Pastor Zhang, whose case we continue to follow closely. An EU-China seminar on the ratification of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights was held in December 2005; and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture visited China in November 2005. We will continue to raise religious freedom with the Chinese Government, and urge further progress on points raised in the resolution.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of the People's Republic of China over the jailing of Xu Wanping. 
Ian Pearson: We monitor closely the treatment of human rights defenders in China and regularly raise individual human rights cases with the Chinese Government, including at the biannual UK and EU-China Human Rights Dialogues. The Government have not made representations to the Chinese Government over the recent imprisonment of Xu Wanping, but we will look into his case.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact on visitors from the UK to France and Belgium of French proposals to limit the carrying outside the home of more than 200 cigarettes at any one time; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government have not made an assessment of the impact French proposals to limit the carrying of cigarettes outside the home would have on visitors from the UK to France. However, national measures concerning France's domestic treatment of tobacco purchased for personal use are a matter for the French Government, subject to compliance with their obligations under EC law.
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
EU Heads of State and Government agreed in December a proposal from the UK presidency for the Union's budget over 200713, including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). That proposal included a provision allowing member states to transfer up to 20 per cent. of their funding for CAP market support and direct payments to rural development. This Government have always supported
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moving funds in this direction, and will continue to do so. The agreement in December also contained a commitment to review all EU expenditure, including the CAP, in 200809. On 2 December, the Government published a paper setting out the UK's vision for reform of the CAP, which we hope will inform that debate. This is available at http://www.hm-treasury.gov/uk/media/E76/04/a_Vision_for_the_CAP.pdf. The Government are in on-going discussions with other member states and other stakeholders about their views on that vision, and their own ideas for the future of the CAP. The UK presidency also managed to secure agreement with other member states in November on a historic liberalising reform of the EU sugar regime.
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