Select Committee on European Scrutiny Eleventh Report


COM(01) 669

Amended draft Decision on guidelines for Member States' employment policies for the year 2002.

Legal base:Article 128(2) EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
Document originated:9 November 2001
Forwarded to the Council: 12 November 2001
Deposited in Parliament: 7 December 2001
Department:Work and Pensions
Basis of consideration: EM of 18 December 2001
Previous Committee Report: None; but see (22669) —: HC 152-iii (2001-02), paragraph 15 (31 October 2001)
To be discussed in Council: Not applicable
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Not cleared; further information requested


  3.1  We cleared an earlier version of the draft Employment Guidelines in October.[5] They were agreed, along with the other components of the "Employment Package" (the Joint Employment Report for 2001 and the Recommendations on the implementation of Member States' employment policies), at the Employment and Social Policy Council on 3 December, and adopted at the Laeken European Council.

The amended proposal

  3.2  The current document was produced by the Commission, following consultation with the European Parliament (EP). In its Explanatory Memorandum, the Commission states that it has included a number of changes which reflect the EP's major concerns with the draft guidelines. It proposes modifications to one of the horizontal objectives and six of the guidelines.

The Government's view

  3.3  The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Employment (Mr Malcolm Wicks) expresses no view of the document but tells us:

    "The Commission's amended proposal was effectively overtaken by events since agreement of the 2002 Guidelines was based on the Commission's earlier proposal [(22669)]. It therefore has no policy implications for the UK."


  3.4  While we recognise that the document itself is now obsolete, the Minister's Explanatory Memorandum gives rise to some questions.

  3.5  We ask firstly why the Explanatory Memorandum was not provided before 18 December, given that the document was forwarded to the Council on 12 November.

  3.6  The latter date would seem to have allowed for the Committee to have considered the amended proposal before the Council meeting on 3 December.

  3.7  We also ask for a fuller explanation of the Minister's comment about the document being "effectively overtaken by events". The implication appears to be that the Council took no account of the consultation with the European Parliament in coming to its agreement. We ask the Minister whether this was, in fact, the case and, if so, whether it is a common practice.

  3.8  We will not clear the document until we have his response.

5  (22669) -; see headnote to this paragraph.


previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 17 January 2002