HC Deb 14 May 2002 vol 385 c549W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the mandate of the Committee on the Arrangements for Implementing Europe Agreements with the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Free-trade Agreements with the Baltic states 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. [55388]

Peter Hain

The free trade agreements and Europe Agreements between the EU and 10 candidates for accession from central and eastern Europe (including the Baltics) are discussed at the Central European Working Group and monitored at the relevant Association Councils, Committees and specialist ad hoc subcommittee meetings.

The Central European Working Group's mandate is to monitor the implementation of the Europe Agreements and free trade agreements. UK officials participate at the Central European Working Group and regularly attend the Association Councils and Committees to support UK policy interests. EU common positions in the group are reached by member states through consensus. Substantive issues, such as proposed regulations to reduce trade barriers, are submitted to both Houses for parliamentary scrutiny.

Since May 2001, our records show that there have been 44 meetings of the group, 10 Association Councils and 10 Association Committees.

Further detail on this matter could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Forward to