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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The European Parliament's new chamber in Brussels is housed in a building which is part of the Espace Leopold complex, which is not yet completed. In 1992, the European Parliament (EP) signed a contract for a long lease on a complex of three buildings to be constructed, with an option to purchase. The total estimated investment cost under the contract is approximately 1 billion ecu (£755 million), before amortisation. The lease on each building in the complex is to run 27 years from the date of its handover. The annual budget payment for the building containing the new chamber is 13.9 mecu (£10.5 million).
The building is in regular use for office accommodation, committee meetings and other purposes. The new chamber within the building is used for plenary sessions, which are scheduled to take place on 12 days during 1995. Annual EP expenditure on buildings is decided in the context of the annual budget negotiations. The EP must ensure that its expenditure is consistent with the Treaty and the financial regulation.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is open to any non-nuclear-weapons state party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to take action under the security assurances that they have been given if they wish to do so. North Korea has not approached us on this matter.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is not feasible to operate a simple definition of when military expenditure is excessive. Account must be taken of issues such as regional security situations; budgetary pressures; and the allocation of expenditure to key development sectors. It is within this context that levels of military expenditure of aid-recipient countries are taken into account, on a case-by-case basis, when deciding upon bilateral aid programme allocations.
The rising level of multilateral aid is placing pressure on the resources available for bilateral aid, including our programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this, Africa remains a priority for British aid. In 199394 we spent £381 millionrepresenting 42.5 per cent. of our bilateral aid programme allocable by regionin African countries. In addition, the European Union's aid programme to sub-Saharan Africa for the period 199095 amounts to the equivalent of some £7.6 thousand million, of which the UK share is £1.25 thousand million.
Our aid to Indonesiaamounting to £22 million in 199394reflects the country's large population, its relative poverty, (despite an outstanding record of poverty reduction) and its sound economic management. In recent years aid to Indonesia has increased, due largely to support under the Aid and Trade Provision (ATP), for which Indonesia is eligible as a low-income creditworthy country, and to the undertaking of an enhanced programme of technical co-operation in the forestry sector, which is of high environmental importance. Indonesia's defence expenditure is under 2 per cent of its GDP.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence: Under the terms of the Building Societies Act 1986, the Building Societies commission must approve the statutory merger statement issued to members of both societies, and subsequently confirm the merger, before it can go ahead. The statement must include any changes proposed in the remuneration of directors and other officers.
Lord Henley: Public sector receipts to the United Kingdom from membership of the EU in 199394 were £3,864 million. In addition, the United Kingdom private sector obtained significant receipts from the EC Budget.
However, the benefits of membership to the United Kingdom are much wider than those which can be measured directly in quantifiable cash terms. They include the benefits in increased trade and inward investment in the United Kingdom from membership of a trading bloc of some 370 million people; the increased bargaining power in world trade negotiations that this brings, opening up markets to British exporters; the benefits from influencing the outcome of decisions taken at a Community level, such as subsidiarity, deregulation and state aids; and the political and economic benefits from the increased stability that the EU brings to Europe as a whole.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Viscount Astor): The Reviewing Committee's Annual Report, 199394, has been published today, and copies have been laid before Parliament.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): The Council reached agreement on the remaining aspects of the Fourth Framework Programme. This will enable the Commission to issue calls for proposals on most if not all the outstanding specific programmes in December. We believe that the Framework Programme presents United Kingdom researchers with a worthwhile challenge to which they will be able to respond fully, as they have done in the past.
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