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Government Car and Despatch Agency: Instructions to Drivers

Lord Berkeley asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): I understand from the Government Car and Despatch Agency that their drivers are under clear instructions to keep their engines running whenever possible. This is because all their cars are fitted with catalytic converters which only operate properly when hot and because their security vehicles are fitted with a number of electrically powered security devices which could not be powered from the car battery alone for extensive lengths of time.

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EC Legislatures: Salary Levels

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which nations within the European Community have a bicameral legislature; what (in euros or ECUs) is the approximate annual salary of members of each; and whether the House of Lords is the only national legislative body within the European Community whose members serve without pay.[HL1757]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Austria

Bicameral. The annual salary for Members of the Austrian Nationalrat (Lower House) is 1.4 million Schillings (i.e. approximately £70,000 or 100,719 ECU). The annual salary of members of the Bundesrat (Upper House) is 700,000 Schillings (i.e. approximately £35,000 or 50,359.50 ECU). Austrian MPs also receive substantial travel allowances depending on the distance of their main residence from Vienna. Belgium

The Belgian Federal Legislature is bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate. Members of both houses receive the same pay: ECU 63,720 per annum (gross) ECU 47,408 (net), with an allowance for costs of ECU 17,830 per annum. Denmark

Unicameral. Each MP receives approximate 48,800 ECU per annum. There are various non-taxable allowances to cover travel and other costs but these depend on the area represented and, for example, whether the MP sits on official committees. Finland

Unicameral. MPs' monthly earnings are between Finnmarks 16,299 (ECU 2,717) and 20,816 (ECU 3,470) before tax, depending on length of service. (There are currently Finnmarks 8.8 to one pound sterling. ECU 1.467 = £1.) France

Bicameral. The following figures are per month and gross. Deputies receive ECU 6,225 for staff, 5,250 for expenses and 6,167 to pay for staff. Senators are given ECU 4,873 for salary, 146 as a cost of living allowance, and 1,255 as a further allowance. Germany

Members of the Bundestag receive a basic salary before tax and insurances of DM 12,350 per month (as at 1 April 1998). This comes to some ECU 93,988 p.a. (at DM 1.971 = ECU 1.00). This is supplemented by various allowances for office expenses; official travel; meals and accommodation; staff etc.

The Bundesrat is made up of representatives of the Lander, normally the Minister-President and senior Ministers of each Land. Members receive no salary in respect of their role in the Bundesrat. They are, however, paid their Ministerial salaries, allowances etc., by their respective Land Governments. They are

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reimbursed travel costs for attendance at meetings of the Bundesrat, its committees and certain other related bodies. They also receive a nominal flat rate daily expense allowance for attendance at such meetings. This was set at DM 80 per diem in September 1995, the latest date for which we have information. Greece

Unicameral. The Greek Parliament is the equivalent of the House of Commons. Its members are elected by universal suffrage for a four-year period. The approximate annual salary is ECU 70,400. Ireland

Members of the Dail are paid IR£36,648 (ECU 28,699) plus allowances, and Senators receive IR£22,885 (ECU 17,921) plus allowances (using a 1.277 exchange rate into ECUs.) Italy

Bicameral. Members of both houses receive salaries consisting of annual basic pay (net of tax and social security contributions) and excluding allowances, extras and incentives, of approximately 55,612.7 ECU. Luxembourg

Unicameral. Each member of the Chamber of Deputies receives FLux 2 million (approximately £40,000 or ECU 58,680), half of which is tax free. The Netherlands

Bicameral. The Second Chamber is the Dutch equivalent of the House of Commons. The First Chamber sits one day per week and has Members who in general have their main job outside national politics. Gross basic annual salaries for Dutch MPs (excluding allowances) are as follows:

    First Chamber: ECU 17,631

    Second Chamber: ECU 72,243 Portugal

Unicameral. Members of the Assemblia da Republica receive a monthly remuneration of 614,600 escudos plus 61,500 in allowances. As is customary in Portugal, this is paid fourteen times a year, making an annual total of 9,465,400 escudos (£32,086 or ECU 47,091 at current rates). Spain

Bicameral. The salaries below apply equally to the Congress and the Senate (except for ex-officio Members of the Senate, e.g. Presidents of regional governments who receive only their presidential salary).

Basic salary (taxable):

    403, 336 Pstas = 2,440 ECU

Allowances (tax free):

    225,266 pstas = 1,364 ECU (outside Madrid)

    102,484 pstas = 620 ECU (inside Madrid)

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Unicameral. Salaries (in ECU) are as follows:

Speaker and Prime Minister:111,628
Deputy Speaker53,512
Committee Chairs49,395
Deputy Chairmen47,337
MPs' bonus for accommodation in Stockholm5,581
MPs' bonus for administrative costs7,598

HK33 Assault Rifle: Contract with Turkey

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the present state of negotiations concerning the proposed licensing of the manufacture in Turkey of the HK33 assault rifle, by Royal Ordnance (owned by British Aerospace); and to what extent such a licence can be reconciled with an ethical foreign policy.[HL1783]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government understand that a contract has been signed between Heckler and Koch, a subsidiary of British Aerospace, and the Turkish Government for the supply and manufacture under licence of HK33 assault rifles. As rifle parts will be sourced at least initially in Germany, no application has been made in the UK for an export licence. The decision lies with the competent German authorities.

Romania, Moldova and Ukraine: Relations

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they define the national interests of the United Kingdom and its diplomatic objectives in relation to Romania, the Republic of Moldova and the Ukraine.[HL1881]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government want to maintain good relations with Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. We are keen to see all three countries succeed as stable and economically prosperous democracies, playing a full and constructive role in a wider Europe.

Kuwaiti Diplomat: Withdrawal from United Kingdom

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many diplomats, with their families, were withdrawn during 1997 from posts in the United Kingdom at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; in what countries' diplomatic missions they were employed; and what offences they were alleged to have committed.[HL1920]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In 1997 only one diplomat was withdrawn from his post in the United Kingdom at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The diplomat was employed by the Kuwaiti Embassy and was alleged to have committed assault/domestic violence.

Diplomatic Status: Dual Nationals

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list those persons who hold a United Kingdom passport who are shown in the current London Diplomatic List as enjoying diplomatic status, indicating in respect of each the diplomatic mission of which they are a member.[HL1921]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: According to Protocol Department's record, there are presently 10 persons accredited to 10 of the London Diplomatic missions as diplomatic agents who are dual nationals, holding UK nationality in addition to that of the sending state, and who are eligible for limited immunity associated with diplomatic status in accordance with Article 38(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. No persons of UK nationality alone are eligible for this status.

Sudan Peace Process

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the outcome of the recent Umma Party of Sudan Congress in Eritrea; what is their assessment of (a) its potential significance as a record of the aspirations of the Islamic Anseris; and (b) how the expressed objectives on ethnic pluralism, enhancement of democracy and support for the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) might be mobilised to accelerate the peace process.[HL1922]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Sudanese political parties like the UMMA party have an important role to play and we follow closely the evolution of Sudanese public opinion. We support the need for a comprehensive negotiated settlement that respects the rights of all Sudanese. This support has been made clear to both sides in the civil war and recently reinforced through our lobbying of countries in the region prior to the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace talks held in Nairobi on 2-6 May. To maintain the talks momentum, we are presently discussing with members of the IGAD Partners Forum the convening of an urgent meeting of the Forum. The intention is to follow up on the outcome of the 2-6 May talks.

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