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Departmental Annual Report

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the purpose was of the expenditure denoted in relation to (a) Reuniting Europe, Table 15 and (b) Universal Postal Union, Table 18 of her Department's 2006 annual report. (109460)

The Reuniting Europe Programme supports EU enlargement. The programme funds projects in candidate countries, the Western Balkans and the European neighbourhood, with a particular focus on improving governance, judicial reform, tackling corruption and encouraging economic growth. The programme supports the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Strategic Priority 4—building an effective and globally competitive EU in a secure neighbourhood.

The UK is one of the five major financial contributors towards the work of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), paying £960,000 in 2005. The UPU sets the standards and rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations aimed to stimulate growth in mail volumes and improve the quality of service for customers. It is the primary forum for co-operation between postal-sector players worldwide, and fulfils advisory, mediation and liaison roles, as well as providing technical assistance where required. UPU activities are funded jointly by the 191 member states. The UK contribution to the UPU reflects the importance we accord to the international conveyance of mail within the context of a universal postal service obligation.