Select Committee on European Communities Eleventh Report


B. CASES WHERE EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE

37. COUNCIL DECISION APPROVING THE SIGNATURE OF AN AGREEMENT FOR SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Letter from John Battle MP, Minister of State for Science, Energy and Industry, Department of Trade and Industry, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  The above Council Decision regarding the signing of a science and technology agreement with the United States of America is due in the very near future, ahead of the signing of the Agreement at the next US-EC quarterly meeting to discuss the Transatlantic Agenda on 5-7 December. The Scrutiny Committees in both Houses are not due to meet in time for scrutiny to be completed without delaying signing of the Agreement.

  The Agreement would allow for United States participation in collaborative research in certain non-nuclear programmes of the EC Fifth Framework Programme in the field of research and technological development and demonstration (RTD) and for Community participation in the equivalent US research programmes.

  The agreement will be of benefit to the UK research community, allowing entry to US programmes and allowing collaboration with US companies or research bodies when this would be of benefit to the research consortium.

  I am very well aware of the requirement to provide your Committee with an adequate opportunity to scrutinise measures before adoption in Council. However, since the proposed Agreement is non-contentious, substantially the same as a proposal on which scrutiny has been completed (the Agreement with South Africa on Science and Technology collaboration) and is in the interest of the UK, I would not wish to delay its signing. Therefore, I hope you will appreciate why we intend to lift the UK Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve on the proposal when it comes to the Council for adoption in the very near future.

27 November 1997

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to John Battle MP, Minister of State for Science, Energy and Industry, Department of Trade and Industry

  Thank you for your letter of 27 November which outlines your reasons for lifting the scrutiny reserve on the above agreement. Although you explain that the proposal is non-contentious and similar to a proposal agreed with South Africa, it is regrettable that the Parliamentary scrutiny procedure had not been completed. I am, however, grateful to you for keeping me informed.

11 December 1997




 
previous page contents next page

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

© Parliamentary copyright 1998