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18 Jul 1997 : Column WA135

Written Answers

Friday, 18th July 1997.

Beef: Illegal Export Allegations

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the European Commission in their assessment of the deficiencies in the United Kingdom controls on beef exports; on what date they were informed of this assessment, and whether they were given the opportunity to make written representations before the European Commission made their views public.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to my noble friend Lord Gregson on 17 July 1997 (Official Report, col. WA 122). The Government were not given the opportunity to make written representations to the European Commission on the latter's assessment of deficiencies in the United Kingdom controls on beef exports before they were made public.

Departmental Personal Files

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which departments of state keep updated and detailed files on individuals for whatever purpose, stating in each case whether the individuals concerned are permitted to see and examine these files if they so request.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested is not held centrally, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

International Relations: Co-ordination

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements they have made to ensure a co-ordinated, integrated and consistent approach to foreign, defence and security policy towards the EU, WEU, NATO, the Council of Europe, OSCE, Partnership for Peace, the North Atlantic

18 Jul 1997 : Column WA136

    Co-operation Council and bilateral interstate relations with respect to east and central Europe and Russia.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We ensure that all relevant departments are fully consulted to ensure a co-ordinated and consistent policy towards central and eastern Europe and Russia in terms of our relations both with the relevant international organisations, taking account of their different activities and requirements, and bilaterally with the individual countries concerned.

Landmines: Ottawa Process

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What measures they have taken to encourage other states to join the Ottawa process on landmines.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We took part in last month's Brussels conference designed to add political momentum to the Ottawa process. We shall continue actively to encourage other countries to join it.

Westminster Foundation for Democracy: Annual Report

Lord Winston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the audited accounts and annual report of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy will be made available and what subject matter they will cover.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Copies of the foundation's Annual Report for 1996-97 have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The foundation received £2.5 million from the FCO for its activities in 1996-97. With this grant it supported 278 projects in 58 countries. It directed most of its funds to supporting democratic institutions in central and eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Anglophone Africa, and also supported worthwhile projects in other parts of the world. It makes a valuable contribution to the promotion of democracy overseas. Projects have included work with political parties, parliaments, the independent media, trades unions, human rights groups, women's groups and other non-governmental organisations involved in political development.

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