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
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