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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, how many meetings of the Church Commissioners there were in 2000; and what the attendance record was of each commissioner. [153768]

Mr. Stuart Bell: The Church Commissioners' Board of Governors, of which all but six of the 33 Commissioners are members, met five times in 2000. The Annual General Meeting of the Church Commissioners was also held. Average attendance at Board meetings was 70 per cent.

The Church Commissioners' six committees, whose members include Commissioners and others, met throughout the year to transact the business for which they have separate responsibility. Attendance was broadly in the region of 65 per cent. to 80 per cent.

The committees' membership and remit are detailed in the Church Commissioners' annual report and accounts, of which my hon. Friend will have received a copy. It is not the Commissioners' practice to publicise the attendance details of individual members.



Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent consultations he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales on assistance to Corus workers. [154085]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I regularly discuss a wide range of issues with the First Secretary, including the assistance available to help those facing job losses in Corus.

Promotional Campaigns

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the television, newspaper and radio advertising and other promotional campaigns conducted by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its departmental public bodies, in each of the past five years, showing for each the expenditure incurred by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [153410]

Mr. Paul Murphy [holding answer 12 March 2001]: My Department has run no television, newspaper, radio advertising or any other kind of promotional campaign since its creation in July 1999. It has no agencies or departmental public bodies within its responsibilities. Its predecessor Department, the Welsh Office, spent

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£1,795,000 in 1996-97, £2,661,000 in 1997-98, and £2,685,000 in 1998-99 on a variety of advertising campaigns and projects.


Rapid Reaction Force

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Danish counterpart on the exercise of Denmark's automatic opt-out in relation to the EU Rapid Reaction Force under the terms of the Edinburgh agreement. [153502]

Mr. Vaz: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the European Security and Defence Policy and Denmark's opt-out when he met his Danish counterpart in London on 17 January 2001.

Treaty of Nice

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers signed the provisional Treaty of Nice on 26 February; and what press statements were released in connection with this event. [153501]

Mr. Vaz: The Treaty of Nice was signed on 26 February by the Foreign Ministers of all 15 member states of the European Union. This event was highlighted in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) daily bulletin of 23 February, available on the website at An FCO press release was sent to various national newspapers, and the FCO published a pamphlet setting out the main features of the Nice Treaty.

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to publish the text of the Treaty of Nice as signed on 26 February. [154929]

Mr. Vaz: A Command Paper containing the Treaty of Nice as signed on 26 February was published today as Cm 5090. Copies are available from the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

For the first time in generations, there is a real prospect of uniting Europe. The Treaty of Nice brings this goal closer by reforming the EU's institutions to enable them to operate effectively after the accession of up to 12 new member states.

The Treaty increases the relative weight of Britain's vote in the Council of Ministers and raises the threshold for a qualified majority. The democratic legitimacy of decisions taken by qualified majority voting is assured by the addition of a population threshold, which means that the three largest member states (including the UK) can still block decisions together. In addition a qualified majority must have the support of at least the majority of member states.

The Treaty delivers a reformed Commission, with one Commissioner per member state from 2005 up to a maximum of 27. It proposes more qualified majority voting where this is in Britain's interests, and preserves the veto in areas where the Government said we would.

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It allows groups of member states to move ahead faster in some areas where it is clear that not all are ready to, provided that this co-operation meets the conditions we secured to protect the Single Market, prevent discrimination in trade between member states, ensure compatibility with existing agreements, and guarantee that co-operation is open to all.

A Declaration to the Treaty looks forward to a wide public debate about the future of the European Union. A further Intergovernmental Conference will be held in 2004 to make changes arising from this debate. Public consultation was launched on 7 March.

In making the institutional changes necessary for the accession of new member states, the Nice Treaty opens the way for enlargement of the EU. This has been the goal of successive Governments for the sake of the peace, stability, and prosperity of Europe.

The Nice Treaty cannot enter into force until all member states have ratified it in accordance with their national procedures. The Government intend to introduce legislation to enable the UK to ratify the Nice Treaty as soon as it is practically possible.

Shageldy Atakov

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further representations he will make to the Government of Turkmenistan on behalf of Shageldy Atakov. [153724]

Mr. Vaz: On 23 February the British Government, with EU Partners and the US issued a demarche to the Turkmen Foreign Minister regarding the detention of Shageldy Atakov and called for his release on humanitarian grounds. The Foreign Minister took note, and undertook to pursue the issue. We still await a formal response but will continue to remind the Turkmen authorities of our concern.


Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the security situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the progress made in implementing the Dayton Peace Accords. [154018]

Mr. Vaz: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 9 March 2001, Official Report, column 397W. I also refer him to the letter I sent him on 16 March.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the granting of financial aid to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia conditional upon its Government co-operating with The Hague concerning the tribunal case against Slobodan Milosevic. [154055]

Mr. Vaz: No conditionality relating to the International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was attached to the 200 million euro package of humanitarian and emergency assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) agreed by the EU in October 2000, nor to UK bilateral assistance programmes over the winter (amounting to over £13 million).

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Future assistance to the FRY will need to take full account where appropriate of the FRY's progress towards political and economic reform and its legal obligation to co-operate with the ICTY.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's position is on the future status of Montenegro. [154019]

Mr. Vaz: The UK and the EU would prefer to see a renegotiation of the relationship between Montenegro and Serbia take place within the framework of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The EU set out this preference in the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council of 22 January. Decisions on status will need to be taken in an open, democratic and consensual manner, taking full account of the need to preserve the internal stability of the FRY and the regional stability of south eastern Europe.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the future status of Vojvodina. [154013]

Mr. Vaz: Vojvodina is a province of the Republic of Serbia. We support the efforts of the democratically- elected authorities in Novi Sad and Belgrade to reach political agreement on a redefinition of the autonomous powers of Vojvodina within that framework.

Mr. Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in southern Serbia and Macedonia. [154930]

Mr. Vaz: The Yugoslav Army (VJ) and ethnic Albanian extremist groups in southern Serbia agreed a ceasefire brokered by NATO on 12 March. The agreement provides for the unconditional cessation of all military activities and use of force by either side. The Commander of KFOR (COMKFOR) retains his authority over the 5 km ground safety zone on the Kosovo/Serbia boundary. On Macedonia the situation remains tense. KFOR is providing support to the Macedonian authorities.

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