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Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to increase the number of civil service fast streamers working in European Union institutions. 
Mr Lidington: This autumn will see the first intake of a relaunched Civil Service European fast-stream. European fast stream candidates will take up positions in the civil service, with a view to them undertaking the entrance exams for the European Institutions-the Concours-before the end of 2012.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to increase the number of British nationals working in European Union institutions. 
I have discussed this issue with Cathy Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security and Vice President of the Commission and Maros Sefcovic, Commissioner for
Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration. The Government are taking forward the 'success in the EU project' aimed at the increasing the number of British nationals working in the European Union institutions. Initiatives under the project include the relaunch of the European fast stream and working closely with the European Personnel Selection Office, EPSO, in the UK to encourage more British nationals to undertake the EU entrance exams-the Concours. The project is also seeking to improve the mechanisms for secondments from the UK civil service to the EU institutions. I will shortly be considering options for next steps for the project.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the question of the European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg with his French counterpart on his recent visit to Paris. 
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to bring forward proposals for amending the House's Scrutiny Reserve Resolution for the European Scrutiny Committee. 
Mr Lidington: This Government want to increase democratic and parliamentary control, scrutiny and accountability over EU decision making. The Government attach great importance to allowing the Parliament to be able to scrutinise EU business in good time. Getting the scrutiny system right is a top priority for us. We expect to engage with the European Scrutiny Committee on the Scrutiny Reserve Resolution as soon as the Committee has been established.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likelihood of the presence of commercially extractable quantities of oil in Falklands Islands waters. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Hydrocarbons exploration resumed in Falkland Islands waters in February 2010. Rockhopper Exploration announced an oil discovery in their Sea Lion prospect in the North Falklands Basin on 6 May 2010. This well has been suspended for future testing. So far, there has been no confirmation of any find of hydrocarbons in commercially viable quantities. Exploration is continuing.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance is issued to Government departments on the use of wine from the Government Wine Cellar; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: Government Hospitality (GH) does not issue guidance to Departments on the use of wines from the cellar except as part of the overall service offered by Government Hospitality. All Ministers and Departments are advised of the availability of the GH service soon after the appointment of the Government.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to the public purse was of bottles of wine purchased for the Government wine cellar since 6 May 2010. 
Mr Bellingham: Government Hospitality (GH) in Protocol Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responsibility for the management of the stock in the Government wine cellar. Apart from beverage wines that are bought on an ad hoc basis, GH usually buys new stock on two or three occasions each year, as advised by the GH Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine. GH buys wines young, when first available in the retail market and relatively less expensive, and stores them until they are ready to use. It purchases throughout the year according to its requirements, market rates, availability and value for money. Since 6 May 2010 Government Hospitality has spent £17,698 on new stock for the cellar. None of these wines has yet been used.
Careful management of the Government wine cellar enables GH to provide wine for high profile events at significantly below the current market rate, making substantial savings for the taxpayer. Government Hospitality is also able to recoup money from other Government Departments for events it manages on their behalf, helping to offset the costs of new stock. In financial year 2009-10 GH was able to reclaim £47,000 of the total annual expenditure on the cellar of £80,662. This was itself a reduction on the 2008-09 figure of over 30%.
Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response his Department made to reports of attacks on two Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques in Lahore on 28 May 2010. 
Alistair Burt: The UK shares the deep concern felt about these terrible attacks which killed over 90 people, and injured over 100. On 28 May 2010, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Hague) said
"the British Government utterly condemns the attacks in Lahore, which have led to the loss of so many innocent lives. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. The attacks are a reminder of the importance of the international community working with Pakistan to tackle the threat of violent extremism".
Our consular staff at our high commission in Islamabad provided support to the family of the British national who was killed in the attack. Senior officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have met with representatives of the Ahmadiyya community in the UK. I will be meeting the leadership of the community at the FCO in the near future to discuss the concerns of the Ahmadiyya community in detail.
Our British high commissioner in Islamabad has raised the attacks and the discrimination suffered by the Ahmadiyya community with the Chief Minister of Punjab
alongside his European Union colleagues. We have raised the issue bilaterally with the Pakistani authorities, including with the Ministries for Minorities and of the Interior.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Middle East Quartet on securing free access to Gaza for the purposes of providing humanitarian aid, construction material and other non-military supplies. 
Alistair Burt [holding answer 14 June 2010]: Both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have discussed these issues recently with their Israeli counterparts. We also continue to discuss these issues with our international partners, including during the Foreign Secretary's recent visits to EU capitals-and with Quartet Representative Tony Blair. We welcome Quartet consideration of these important issues.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the establishment of an international investigation into the interception of the Free Gaza movement flotilla. 
Alistair Burt [holding answer 14 June 2010]: We have underlined the need for a full, credible, impartial and independent investigation into the events of 31 May. We have made clear that we want to see a process that ensures full accountability and commands the confidence of the international community.
Israel has launched an internal military investigation and announced on 14 June a separate inquiry headed by former Supreme Court judge Yaakov Tirkel and including David Trimble and Ken Watkins as international observers. This is a positive step. We will await details of the inquiry's conduct and findings before drawing further conclusions.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also announced an inquiry panel, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, though no further details have been announced on the membership or composition of this panel.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assurances he has received from the government of Israel that it will not sanction the misuse of British passports. 
Alistair Burt: I have not yet received any formal assurance from Israel. An assurance that British passports will not be misused, would be a positive step from Israel both in its engagement with this new Government and in helping to re-establish the trust of the British passport holders.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he or other Ministers in the Department have had with their Russian counterparts; and whether they raised human rights issues during those discussions. 
Mr Lidington: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have not yet held substantive discussions with their Russian counterparts. However, the Government remain deeply concerned about Russia's poor human rights record and will continue to raise this with them. The Government will press for an end to the apparent impunity for those that perpetrate human rights abuses, stressing that those involved should be brought to justice in trials which meet international standards. The Government will continue to work with Russia on addressing ongoing human rights issues, including through our bilateral human rights dialogue.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals he expects to visit South Africa during the World Cup Finals; and what provisions his Department is making to assist them. 
Mr Bellingham: It is difficult to provide a precise figure for the number of fans that will travel to South Africa for the World Cup. It is likely to be in the tens of thousands. We anticipate this number will be bolstered by last-minute bookings if England reach the later stages of the tournament.
The safety and welfare of British nationals is our paramount concern. We launched the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 'Be on the Ball' travel safety campaign in November 2009. This campaign's objective is to provide clear, concise travel advice and tips to travelling fans and to inform them what consular staff can and cannot do to help them. We have also encouraged fans to visit our webpage
Since October 2009 a dedicated football liaison officer at the British high commission in Pretoria has been working closely with the South African authorities, the Football Association, supporters groups and the UK police to ensure that arrangements are in place to help visiting fans. The consular network in South Africa has been reinforced with additional staff from the region to deal with an expected increase in consular cases, such as lost passports and victims of traffic accidents or crime. A mobile consular team will travel to each of the venues that England will play in, to enable staff to respond quickly as issues arise.
While we expect the majority of problems to be routine, we are also prepared to respond in the event of a larger incident. Our high commission in Pretoria and the consulate general in Cape Town took part in a World Cup specific exercise in February that tested their preparedness to respond to a major incident. We
also have on stand-by in London a rapid deployment team of specially trained staff who can be sent out to South Africa quickly, to reinforce the response capability of our team on the ground.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has been notified as to whether the President of Sudan plans to attend the London 2012 Olympics. 
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received reports on the use of the lèse majesté laws by the government of Thailand in respect of news web sites in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We understand the particular reverence the people of Thailand have for the monarchy. The Government attach importance to freedom of expression and the respect of fundamental human rights. It should be possible to discuss political reform without fear of coming under the purview of laws that were designed for non political purposes. Human rights groups continue to raise concerns about the use of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act to interfere with the internet on grounds of national security, which has been deemed to include criticism of the monarchy. A significant number of websites were also blocked during recent political unrest under the provisions of the State of Emergency. Our ambassador in Bangkok has raised the issue of freedom of expression a number of times with the Thai authorities. We welcome statements by the Thai Prime Minister that lèse majesté laws should not be used inappropriately.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the use of drone planes in military operations by the governments of other countries. 
Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the upper earnings limit for Child Support Agency assessments has not been uprated since its introduction; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the upper earnings limit for Child Support Agency assessments has not been uprated since its introduction; and if he will make a statement. 
The upper limit for the statutory child maintenance schemes is a net weekly income of £2,000 per week. It was set at a level sufficiently high to ensure that all children benefit from a reasonable level of maintenance and only those who are already likely to have more complicated financial arrangements are affected. In these cases, the courts are able to make a top-up of maintenance order. This is an important safeguard to ensure that children continue to share in the living standards of non-resident parents when the non-resident parent's income exceeds the upper limit.
Whilst inflation has meant that a greater number of non-resident parents earn more than the upper earnings limit, their number is still very small and it has therefore not been thought necessary to amend legislation.
As a consequence of moving from net to gross weekly income in the future scheme we propose that the maximum amount of weekly income taken into account in a maintenance calculation will increase to £3,000. This is broadly the same as the current cap in net income terms and in keeping with the objective that there should not be major differences in liabilities when comparing current scheme and future scheme rules.
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