Select Committee on European Communities Eleventh Report


B. CASES WHERE EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE

41. DRAFT COUNCIL RESOLUTION: CO-OPERATION IN THE FIELD OF JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

Letter from Joyce Quin MP, Minister of State, Home Office, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  I enclose for the information of your Committee a draft Council resolution laying down priorities for co-operation in the field of justice and home affairs for the period 1 January 1998 to the date of the coming into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, together with an Explanatory Note [not printed]. The draft resolution will be presented to the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4-5 December for adoption.

  The draft resolution has been in preparation for some time, and I regret very much that we have not sent it to you before now. Although the draft carries the date of 28 July, it did not come to our notice, for reasons we are seeking to ascertain, until much later.

  The period covered by the resolution of course includes that of the UK's Presidency of the European Council. We shall in the usual way be preparing a Presidency work programme for the Third Pillar, which I hope to send the scrutiny committees shortly; I know that Lord Wallace wishes to see this before I meet Sub-Committees E and F on 9 December. It will be consistent with the terms of the present resolution and will explain in more detail the priorities that the UK will be pursuing during our Presidency and what we hope to achieve.

  Meanwhile, I regard the present draft resolution as providing a useful framework for the work of the Union between the beginning of next year and the coming into force of the Amsterdam Treaty. It reflects a broad consensus as to the priorities, but is flexible enough to allow for urgent responses to unforeseen events, should this prove necessary.

25 November 1997

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Joyce Quin MP, Minister of State, Home Office

  Thank you for your recent letter enclosing the draft Council Resolution laying down priorities for co-operation in the field of justice and home affairs for the period 1 January 1998 to the date of the coming into force of the Amsterdam Treaty.

  Whilst I am pleased to receive a copy of the document even at this late stage, I am somewhat surprised that the document escaped your notice for so long, especially in light of the United Kingdom's impending Presidency of the Council and the need to ensure consistency between the United Kingdom's proposed work programme under the Third Pillar and the draft Resolution. You say in your letter that you are seeking to ascertain how this happened: I would be very interested to hear the results of your enquiry in due course.

  In the meantime, it is helpful to have the Council's priorities and the United Kingdom's draft work programme under the Third Pillar in advance of the meeting to be held on 9 December. I have forwarded copies of both documents to Sub-Committees E and F for information.

3 December 1997




 
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