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Committee Mandates

International Development written question – answered on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the mandate of the MED Committee Financial and Technical co-operation between the Community and Mediterranean non-member countries 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 she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

Council Regulation (EC) No. 2698/2000 of 27 November 2000 amended an existing regulation setting out the terms of financial and technical measures to promote reform of economic and social structures in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Article 11 of the regulation establishes the roles of a management committee composed of representatives of the member states, the European Bank (EIB), chaired by a representative of the Commission.

The priorities for MEDA resources are support for economic transition with the aim of wider implementation of free trade through increasing competitiveness with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth, particularly through development of the private sector; support to economic transition; and strengthening the socio-economic balance: the aim is to alleviate the short- term costs of economic transition through appropriate measures in the fields of social policy.

The committee considers and delivers an opinion, by qualified majority voting, on development assistance financing proposals for country and regional strategies, projects and programmes in the MED region.

In the past 12 months the committee has met eight times. The United Kingdom is represented by officials from the Department for International Development. Travel costs for DFID officials to attend meetings of the committee are met by the European Commission. Other costs incurred for attending this committee totalled £1,260 in the past 12 months.

Together with the member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to

"simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com (2001) 783 Final.

As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

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