|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the annual expenditure on (a) fixtures and fittings, (b) general office expenses and (c) office equipment was of (i) his Department and (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body, (B) executive agency and (C) other public body for which his Department is responsible in each English region in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 200506 in each case. 
All the buildings in the United Kingdom for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible and for which the hon. Member has requested information about expenditure, including
17 Jan 2006 : Column 1286W
Wilton Park Executive Agency, and the non-departmental public bodies, are in London and the South East of England. The hon. Member will wish to bear in mind that my Department's principal activities are overseas, in 218 missions and posts. However, the specific details for fixtures and fittings, general office expenses and office equipment cannot easily be separated from the overall expenditure records and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on IT systems in each year since 1997; what the purpose of each system is; what the outturn against planned expenditure of each system was; and what the (a) planned and (b) actual date of completion was of each system. 
Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office operates a devolved system of financial responsibility under which directorates and overseas posts have the freedom to invest in non strategic IT systems designed to meet specific needs. To compile a comprehensive answer to the hon. Member's question would require exhaustive searches of records in the UK and overseas, and would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Over the next financial perspective of 200713, the per capita net contribution will be £88 per annum on a payments basis. This reflects the deal agreed at the December European Council and will leave us paying, for the first time since we joined the EU, roughly the same as France and Italy.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the EU (a) Joint Committee (EEC-Macao), (b) Joint Committee (EEC-Nepal), (c) Joint Committee (EEC-Pakistan) and (d) Joint Committee (EEC-Sri Lanka) have taken place during the UK Presidency of the EU; who was presiding over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provisions were made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the EU (a) Joint Council (EEC-Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council), (b) Joint Committee (ECC-Yemen), (c) Joint Committee Cooperation Committee (EEC-ASEAN) and (d) Joint Committee (EEC-Bangladesh) have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who was presiding over each meeting; what
17 Jan 2006 : Column 1287W
other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: There were no meetings of the EC-Yemen Joint Committee, EC-Countries of the Gulf Joint Co-operation Council or the EC-Bangladesh Joint Committee during the UK presidency. There are no meetings between the EC and ASEAN.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the (a) Joint Committee (EEC-Uruguay), (b) Joint Cooperation Committee (EEC-Canada) and (c) Joint Committee (EC-Japan) have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; which other UK representatives were present; what provisions were made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The EC-Uruguay Joint Committee met on 10 November 2005. The UK was represented by officials from the British embassy in Montevideo. The EC-Canada Joint Co-operation Committee met on 25 October 2005. The presidency was represented by officials from London and the British high commission in Ottawa. There was no EC-Japan Joint Committee. The Government take into account the views and interests of the devolved Administrations when formulating the UK's policy position on all EU and international issues which touch upon devolved matters. Provision for attendance at EU meetings by Ministers and officials of the devolved Administrations is set out in paragraphs 4.1215 of the Concordat on Co-ordination of European Union Policy Issues (part of the Memorandum of Understanding between devolved Ministers and the UK Government) a copy of which is available at:
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of the steps proposed on the reform of the European Council put forward in the Prime Minister and Chancellor Schroeder's joint letter of 25 February 2002 to the President of the Council have since been adopted. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Council in Seville in June 2002 agreed a number of practical changes to improve the effectiveness and transparency of the Council, in line with proposals made in my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's and Chancellor Schroeder's joint letter of 25 February 2002. These measures did not require Treaty amendment.
Further reforms of the Council are proposed in the European Union Constitutional Treaty. However, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said to the House of Commons on 20 June 2005, under the current circumstances, the Treaty cannot proceed.
17 Jan 2006 : Column 1288W
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Now that the UK presidency is complete, the Government will be giving further consideration to issues related to the period of reflection agreed at the June European Council. We have made clear that we support a wide debate on the future direction of the EU and how best to respond to the challenge of globalisation, rather than simply a narrow focus on institutional architecture.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) technical committees and (b) working parties of the EU Council of Ministers have been held since 1 July 1999; and how many were (i) attended and (ii) led by Scottish Executive officials in a UK capacity. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: In accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC (the Comitology decision"), the Commission publishes an annual report on the workings of committees operating in accordance with arrangements set out in that decision. The report for 2004 (reference 14850/05, COM(2005)554) was published on 11 November 2005 and was deposited in Parliament on 1 December 2005 in accordance with the arrangements for the scrutiny of EU documents.
We estimate that there have been nearly 5,000 working group meetings during the UK's presidency of the EU, many of which relate exclusively to reserved matters. We do not have figures for earlier periods and it would incur disproportionate cost to attempt to quantify how many have been held since 1 July 1999.
The Scottish Executive do not keep records of attendance at working group or committee level, although where the subject matter of such groups is of sufficient relevance to the Scottish Executive then officials from either the Scottish Executive's EU Office in Brussels or visiting officials from Scotland will attend. Attendance is at the discretion of lead departments, the Scottish Executive being consulted where the matter is of devolved interest.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|