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Mr. MacShane: None, but officials in Trade Partners UK and in FCO posts overseas along with colleagues in the British Council, work closely with the UK Film Council on its export promotion strategies.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 14 May 2002]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Lyons) on 9 May 2002, Official Report, column 308W.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what position the Government will be taking on the proposal in the Convention on the Future of Europe that the Charter of Fundamental Rights should be inserted in the treaties; what discussions he has had about this with other member states and other institutions; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: The Government welcome the European Convention's decision to set up a Working Group to look at the Charter's status and address the legal and practical issues arising from the question of whether, and if so how, the Charter should be included in the treaties. The Government will seek to be represented on this group.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what position the Government will be taking on the proposal in the Convention on the Future of Europe that the European Union should be given full legal personality; what discussions he has had on the matter with other member states and other institutions; what assessment the
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Government have made of the effects of giving the European Union full legal personality; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: Although legal personality has not yet been discussed in the Convention on the Future of Europe, it will be on the agenda of one of a preliminary round of six working groups to commence in June.
Mr. MacShane: Government, industry and civil society negotiators drawing up the international certification scheme for rough diamonds (the Kimberley Process) have agreed on nearly all outstanding issues. The scheme is designed to ensure a Government-issued certificate attesting to the legitimacy of the contents accompanies each shipment of rough diamonds. The intention is to implement the scheme by the end of 2002, at a date to be agreed at the next meeting in November. Participants are meanwhile devising national action plans to ensure they are ready to effect full implementation by that date.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the mandate of the Committee on Implementation of the Programme of Assistance to Promote the Transition to a Market Economy and to Strengthen Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Partner States of Eastern Europe and Central Asia is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Clare Short: I have been asked to reply. The committee is responsible for oversight of the EC programme of technical assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). It has met four times over the past 12 months and the next meeting will take place on 23 May 2002. Officials from my Department and members of the staff of the United Kingdom Representation in Brussels represent the United Kingdom on the committee. Over the past 12 months the cost to public funds has been approximately £2,500.
The items currently under its consideration are those on the agenda for the forthcoming meeting. These are annual programmes of assistance for 2002 for Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, thematic research programmes for 2002 and support to national co-ordinating units in programme countries. The committee will also receive information on future programming orientations for Central Asia and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership Support Fund.
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11. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her policy on compensation to those indirectly affected by the foot and mouth disease epidemic in 2001. 
Margaret Beckett: There is no statutory provision for such compensation nor can the Government be the insurer of last resort. The Government did of course help rural business and communities through a series of support measures to aid recovery from the impact of FMD.
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 7 May 2002]: The information requested is not readily available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley), on 29 April 2002, Official Report, column 552W, which gave details of the total amount of overnight subsistence for staff working on the foot and mouth crisis.
12. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the categorisation of the activity of parish councils as set out in the recent rural White Paper and the Countryside Agency's "State of the Countryside" report 2001. 
Alun Michael: I refer the hon. Member to my letter of 21 March to all MPs which set out the background to the communities' vibrancy issue and made clear that the communities' vibrancy indicator is not a measure of parish council activities. This Government are breaking new ground in actively promoting the role and importance of parish councils and I hope the hon. Gentleman will endorse and support our initiatives.
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13. Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the consultations she is undertaking prior to the world summit on sustainable development. 
Margaret Beckett: DEFRA has funded UNED-UK to carry out a stakeholder consultation exercise which has involved over 350 groups representing civil society. A business adviser has been seconded to DEFRA to liaise with the business community on WSSD. We are also working through the Development and Environment Group of BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development) to exchange views with NGOs, and the Local Government International Bureau has been a member of the official UK delegation at the preparatory meetings.
18. Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress in domestic and global preparations for the world summit on sustainable development. 
Mr. Meacher: Preparations for WSSD both in the UK and globally are well under way. We are currently in the process of preparing for the Ministerial-Level Preparatory Committee (known as Prepcom IV) in Indonesia on 24 May to 7 June at which I will lead the UK delegation. This meeting will continue work started at the last Prepcom on the proposed Programme of Action to deliver global sustainable development. It will also start work on the political declaration for the summit.
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