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Committee Mandates

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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 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.

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

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.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/486/EC, to

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

As an obligation under 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 (Commission Document 5685/02). 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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