HC Deb 10 May 1982 vol 23 cc462-3
37. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satified with the developmental quality of schemes initiated by the European development fund.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Neil Marten)

Not entirely. We have long been concerned about the design and implementation of the programmes of the European development fund. Partly owing to our efforts, their quality has improved in recent years. We shall continue to work to secure further improvements.

Mr. Spearing

I am grateful to the Minister for his frank reply. Will he now look at some of the criticisms of the fund that have been made in the House? In particular, will he investigate why development investment in overseas territories enjoys the same criteria as that of the European Investment Bank inside Western Europe? Is that not an anomaly that should be looked at?

Mr. Marten

I shall do as the hon. Gentleman suggests and look at it.

Mr. Alton

What percentage of the total European budget accounts for the European development fund? What efforts will he make to achieve a greater coordination of effort between the various member States of the European Community in their approach to overseas aid and development?

Mr. Marten

We constantly try to get better co-ordination at the Council of Ministers' meetings. I regret that I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the exact figures off-the-cuff.

Sir Peter Emery

Will my right hon. Friend place in the Library an exact definition of the words in the question "developmental quality"?

Mr. Marten

I shall write to my hon. Friend with a definition.