This afternoon, I took the opportunity to ask the Minister for Europe the following question on British business overseas:
Steve: What steps his Department is taking to enhance diplomatic and economic relations with the Caspian and South Caucasus region?
Minister of State for Europe (David Lidington MP): The United Kingdom has strong bilateral relations with countries in the Caspian and South Caucasus region, and also significant commercial interests there, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
Steve: In order to defend Europe against excess reliance on Russian energy supplies and to provide opportunity for small British energy firms, particularly those from Scotland, will he continue to encourage and support BP in its work with the Government of Azerbaijan to deliver trans-Turkish pipeline?
Minister of State for Europe (David Lidington MP): Indeed, that pipeline is in both the economic and the strategic interests of the United Kingdom and he makes a strong point about Scotland. Many Scottish companies are in Azerbaijan in the wake of BP’s investment. Another example of how the UK and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office through our embassies are helping to deliver for the people of Scotland.