European Scrutiny Committee - Twenty-Fourth Report
Reforming the European Scrutiny System in the House of Commons

Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 20 November 2013.


Terms of Reference


1 Introduction

The importance of European scrutiny and the reasons for this Inquiry

Discussions on scrutiny since 2005

Discussions since the 2010 General Election

How the House of Commons scrutiny process works

The House of Lords European Union Committee

Comparisons across the European Union

The National Parliament Office

2 The role of the European Scrutiny Committee: examining merits?

3 The role of the European Scrutiny Committee: stages of scrutiny


Committee consideration of documents

Explanatory Memoranda

The sift

The scope of document deposit

The early stages of policy formulation


Scrutiny and legislative development

UKRep, Coreper and decision-making in the Council

Limit documents

The future of limité status

Council meetings



Non-legislative acts: challenges for document definition following the Treaty of Lisbon

Legislative and non-legislative acts

Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Defence and Security Policy proposals

Delegated and implementing acts

Proposed new definition of European document for Standing Order No. 143

4 The importance of the scrutiny reserve

Draft European scrutiny reserve resolution

Draft Resolution on Title V opt-in and Schengen opt-out scrutiny

5 European Union business on the floor of the House

Debates on EU Documents on the floor of the House


A national veto and disapplication of EU law

European Council meetings

Post-European Council statements

Oral Questions on EU matters

Commission Work Programme

Draft revised Standing Order and resolution relating to business on the floor of the House

6 Departmental Select Committees

Liaison between the European Scrutiny Committee and Departmental Select Committees

Upstream engagement


A greater sense of coherence and prioritisation — Commission Work Programme

European Reporters

7 European Committees





Chairs and procedures

Motions in European Committee

Guidance and advice

Draft revised form of Standing Order No. 119

8 The visibility of scrutiny and the media

The role of the media

Reform of European Scrutiny Committee working practices

Documents and reports

Engagement with the European Parliament

The Committee's informal meetings


Pre-appointment hearings

9 Conclusion

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex 1: Glossary


Codecision procedure/ordinary legislative procedure

Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)


Council of the EU

Court of Justice of the EU

Delegating and Implementing Acts

European Commission

European Council

European External Action Service

European Parliament

Explanatory Memorandum

Green Paper

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Presidency of the Council of the EU

Qualified Majority


White Paper

Annex 2

Formal minutes


List of written evidence

Oral and written evidence - HC 109-II

Wednesday 31 October 2012: Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe, and Jill Morris, Additional Director, Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Wednesday 28 November 2012: James Brokenshire MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime and Security, Kenny Bowie, Head of the Opt-In and Treaties Team, and Fiona Fraser, Legal Adviser, Home Office

Wednesday 12 December 2012: Dr Katrin Auel, Assistant Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Dr Ariella Huff, Postdoctoral Research Associate, and Dr Julie Smith, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge

Wednesday 16 January 2013: Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, Chair of the Liaison Committee, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, and David T C Davies MP, Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee

Wednesday 6 February 2013: Ric Bailey, Chief Adviser, Politics, Mary Hockaday, Head of Newsroom, BBC, and Peter Knowles, Controller, BBC Parliament

Wednesday 13 February 2013: Ms Gisela Stuart MP

Wednesday 6 March 2013: Chris Bryant MP, Martin Horwood MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Richard Bacon MP, Chris Heaton-Harris MP and Robert Broadhurst

Wednesday 13 March 2013: David Keighley, Newswatch

Wednesday 24 April 2013: Robin Elias, Managing Editor, ITV News, and John McAndrew, Associate Editor, Sky News

Wednesday 8 May 2013: Sir Jon Cunliffe CB, UK Permanent Representative to the EU, and Simon Manley CMG, Director, Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Wednesday 12 June 2013: Professor Simon Hix, London School of Economics

Thursday 4 July 2013: Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe, Owen Jenkins, Head of Western Balkans Department, and George Hodgson, Head of Parliamentary and Communications Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Wednesday 4 September 2013: Professor Damian Chalmers, Professor of European Union Law, London School of Economics and Political Science

Written evidence - unprinted

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© Parliamentary copyright 2013
Prepared 28 November 2013