Select Committee on European Scrutiny Fifth Report



The European Scrutiny Committee is appointed under Standing Order No.143, viz:

European Scrutiny Committee

143.—(1) There shall be a select committee, to be called the European Scrutiny Committee, to examine European Union Documents and—

(a)  to report its opinion on the legal and political importance of each such document and, where it considers appropriate, to report also on the reasons for its opinion and on any matters of principle, policy or law which may be affected;

(b)  to make recommendations for the further consideration of any such document pursuant to Standing Order No. 119 (European Standing Committees); and

(c)  to consider any issue arising upon any such document or group of documents, or related matters.

The expression 'European Union Document' in this order and in Standing Orders No. 16 (Proceedings under an Act or on European Union documents), No. 89 (Procedure in standing committees) and No. 119 (European Standing Committees) means—

(i)  any proposal under the Community Treaties for legislation by the Council or the Council acting jointly with the European Parliament;

(ii)  any document which is published for submission to the European Council, the Council or the European Central Bank;

(iii)  any proposal for a common strategy, a joint action or a common position under Title V of the Treaty on European Union which is prepared for submission to the Council or to the European Council;

(iv)  any proposal for a common position, framework decision, decision or a convention under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union which is prepared for submission to the Council or to the European Council;

(v)  any document (not falling within (ii), (iii) or (iv) above) which is published by one Union institution for or with a view to submission to another Union institution and which does not relate exclusively to consideration of any proposal for legislation;

(vi)  any other document relating to European Union matters deposited in the House by a Minister of the Crown.

(2) The committee shall consist of sixteen members.

(3) The committee and any sub-committee appointed by it shall have the assistance of the Counsel to the Speaker.

(4) The committee shall have power to appoint specialist advisers either to supply information which is not readily available or to elucidate matters of complexity within the committee's order of reference.

(5) The committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report from time to time.

(6) The quorum of the committee shall be five.

(7) The committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees and to refer to such sub-committees any of the matters referred to the committee.

(8) Every such sub-committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report to the committee from time to time.

(9) The committee shall have power to report from time to time the minutes of evidence taken before such sub-committees.

(10) The quorum of every such sub-committee shall be two.

(11) The committee shall have power to seek from any committee specified in paragraph (14) of this order its opinion on any European Union document, and to require a reply to such a request within such time as it may specify.

(12) The committee or any sub-committee appointed by it shall have leave to meet concurrently with any committee specified in paragraph (14) of this order or with any committee of the Lords on the European Communities, or any sub-committee of that committee, for the purposes of deliberating or examining witnesses.

(13) The committee shall have power to communicate to any committee specified in paragraph (14) of this order its evidence or any other document relating to matters of common interest.

(14) The committees specified for the purposes of this order are those appointed under Standing Order No. 152 (Select committees related to government departments) including any sub-committees, the Select Committee on Public Administration, the Committee of Public Accounts, and the Environmental Audit Committee.

(15) Unless the House otherwise orders, each Member nominated to the committee shall continue to be a member of it for the remainder of the Parliament.



The present membership of the Committee is as follows1:

      Ben Bradshaw MP (Labour, Exeter)2
      Colin Breed MP (Liberal Democrat, South East Cornwall)2
      Roger Casale MP (Labour, Wimbledon)2
      William Cash MP (Conservative, Stone)2
      Michael Connarty MP (Labour, Falkirk East)3
      Jim Dobbin MP (Labour, Heywood and Middleton)2
      Margaret Ewing MP (SNP, Moray)2
      Patrick Hall MP (Labour, Bedford)5
      Mark Hendrick MP (Labour, Preston)8
      Jimmy Hood MP (Labour, Clydesdale)2
      Jenny Jones MP (Labour, Wolverhampton South West)2
      Anne McIntosh MP (Conservative, Vale of York)7
      Jim Marshall MP (Labour, Leicester South)2
      Bill Rammell MP (Labour, Harlow)6
      Laurence Robertson MP (Conservative, Tewkesbury)4
      Anthony Steen MP (Conservative, Totnes)2

On 18 November 1998, the Committee elected Mr Jimmy Hood as its Chairman.

1Russell Brown MP (Labour, Dumfries), was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged on 10 December 1998; Linda Gilroy MP (Labour/Co-operative, Plymouth Sutton) was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged on 10 December 1998; Quentin Davies MP (Conservative, Grantham and Stamford) was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged on 11 January 1999; Shaun Woodward MP (Conservative, Witney) was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged on 26 July 1999; Robert Walter MP (Conservative, North Dorset) was appointed on 11 January 1999 and discharged on 26 July 1999; Rosemary McKenna MP (Labour, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) was appointed on 17 November 1998 and discharged on 14 December 1999; Allan Rogers MP (Labour, Rhondda) was appointed on 30 March 2000 and discharged on 20 June 2000; Owen Paterson MP (Conservative, Shropshire North) was appointed on 26 July 1999 and discharged on 20 November 2000; Nick Palmer MP (Labour, Broxtowe) was appointed on 10 December 1998 and discharged on 25 January 2001.
2 Appointed on 17 November 1998.
3Appointed on 10 December 1998.
4Appointed on 26 July 1999.
5Appointed on 14 December 1999.
6Appointed on 17 November 1998, discharged on 30 March 2000 and reappointed on 20 June 2000.
7Appointed on 20 November 2000.
8Appointed on 25 January 2001.



  Resolution of the House of 17 November 19989

That,

(1) No Minister of the Crown should give agreement in the Council or in the European Council to any proposal for European Community legislation or for a common strategy, joint action or common position under Title V or a common position, framework decision, decision or convention under Title VI of the treaty on European Union—

(a)  which is still subject to scrutiny (that is, on which the European Scrutiny Committee has not completed its scrutiny) or

(b)  which is awaiting consideration by the House (that is, which has been recommended by the European Scrutiny Committee for consideration pursuant to Standing Order No. 119 (European Standing Committees) but in respect of which the House has not come to a Resolution).

(2) In this Resolution, any reference to agreement to a proposal includes—

(a)  agreement to a programme, plan or recommendation for European Community legislation;

(b)  political agreement;

(c)  in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251 of the Treaty of Rome (co-decision), agreement to a common position, to an act in the form of a common position incorporating amendments proposed by the European Parliament, and to a joint text; and

(d)  in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 252 of the Treaty of Rome (co-operation), agreement to a common position.

(3) The Minister concerned may, however, give agreement—

(a)  to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny if he considers that it is confidential, routine or trivial or is substantially the same as a proposal on which scrutiny has been completed;

(b)  to a proposal which is awaiting consideration by the House if the European Scrutiny Committee has indicated that agreement need not be withheld pending consideration.

(4) The Minister concerned may also give agreement to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny or awaiting consideration by the House if he decides that for special reasons agreement should be given; but he should explain his reasons—

(a)  in every such case, to the European Scrutiny Committee at the first opportunity after reaching his decision; and

(b)  in the case of a proposal awaiting consideration by the House, to the House at the first opportunity after giving agreement.

(5) In relation to any proposal which requires adoption by unanimity, abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph (4), be treated as giving agreement.

8Votes and Proceedings, 17 November 1998, p 1250.



Notes

1. Three separate numbering systems are used in this Report to designate European Union documents.

Numbers in brackets are the Committee's own reference numbers.

Numbers in the form 5467/97 are Council of Ministers reference numbers; this system is also employed by United Kingdom Government Departments and the Vote Office and for the purpose of proceedings in the House.

Numbers preceded by the letters COM or SEC are Commission reference numbers; this style is also employed by the European Parliament.

The absence of both a Council of Ministers and Commission reference number usually indicates that at the time of the Report only an unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum from the responsible Government Department was deposited in the House.

2. Details of the progress of European Union Documents recommended by the Committee for further consideration may be found in the European Union Documents List which is circulated every sitting Monday in the Vote Bundle.

3. The financial data in European Union Documents are normally expressed in the euro from 1 January 1999. Following sterling's suspension from the Exchange Rate Mechanism, conversions into sterling relating to present and future years included in the Government's Explanatory Memoranda are normally made at the market rate for the last working day of the previous month. For Explanatory Memoranda submitted in February 2001, the conversion rate is £1 = 1.5706 euro (1 euro = £0.6367).

4. The following terms and abbreviations are used regularly in Reports from the Committee:—


'A' point

An item on the Council Agenda which is not controversial, and needs no discussion. If any Member State objects to an item being taken as an 'A' point, that business is dropped from the agenda. 'B' points are those expected to give rise to debate.

COREPER

Committee of Permanent Representatives

ECJ

European Court of Justice

ECSC

European Coal and Steel Community

EM

Explanatory Memorandum

OJ

Official Journal

RIA

Regulatory Impact Assessment

SEM

Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum

Tag

An italic rubric attached to a Motion in the House or European Standing Committee, listing documents relevant to debate on that Motion


 
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