FAC PN 29 (03-04)

Foreign Affairs Committee

Announcement of New Inquiry

Western Balkans

In March 2001, the Foreign Affairs Committee in the previous Parliament produced a wide-ranging Report on the policy of the British Government towards the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and its wider region, following the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. The current Committee has concluded that, given recent developments, the time is right to follow that work up and re-examine the UK's policy towards this region.

The inquiry will aim to be as comprehensive as practicable, and will seek to examine British policy in the region in its widest possible context. The issues addressed will include:

• the prospects for the region's economic and political growth in the near future;
• the role of NATO in the region;
• the role of external powers in the region, including the USA and the Russian Federation;
• the role of the European Union, including the impact of enlargement;
• the implications of continuing instability in the Western Balkans for the wider region, and Europe as a whole; and
• the future role of the UK in promoting stability and political development in the region, (including the role of the British Council and the BBC World Service).

The inquiry will focus on the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro including Kosovo, and Macedonia (FYROM).

The Committee would greatly welcome written memoranda from interested parties to assist in its inquiry. These should be received by 14th September 2004, either in hard copy to the above address or, preferably, by e-mail to foraffcom@parliament.uk, with a clear indication of the originator's name and address. Details of any evidence sessions in this inquiry will be announced in the form of a further press release.

Notes to editors:

The Report referred to in the Report is: Government Policy Towards the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Wider Region Following the Fall of Milosevic, Fourth Report of Session 2000-01, HC 246. The Government's Response to the Report was published in July 2001 (Cm 5220). Both documents are available via the Committee's website.

Members of the press with enquiries should contact Adele Brown, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 0724.

Membership of the Committee

Rt Hon Donald Anderson (Swansea-East) Lab, Chairman
Mr David Chidgey (Eastleigh) Lib Dem
Mr Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East) Lab
Mr Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central) Lab
Mr Andrew Mackay (Bracknell) Con
Mr Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) Lab
Mr John Maples (Stratford-on-Avon) Con
Mr Bill Olner (Nuneaton) Lab
Mr Greg Pope (Hyndburn) Lab
Rt Hon Sir John Stanley (Tonbridge and Malling) Con
Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston) Lab

The text of all Committee publications, including Reports, can be found on the Committee's  website at: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/foreign_affairs_committee.cfm