Select Committee on European Communities Eleventh Report


B. CASES WHERE EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE

43. AMENDED PROPOSAL FOR A COUNCIL REGULATION ESTABLISHING COMMON RULES AND PROCEDURES TO APPLY TO SHIPMENTS OF CERTAIN NON-OECD COUNTRIES OF CERTAIN TYPES OF WASTE

Letter from Nick Raynsford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  I submit to your Committee the attached Explanatory Memorandum on an EC proposal establishing common rules and procedures to apply to shipments to certain non-OECD countries of certain types of wastes [not printed].

  Your Committee last considered this proposal on 9 December 1996 in Explanatory Memorandum 8179/95 and its supplement. Since this date, the proposal has been revised following the First Reading of the European Parliament in July 1997 and has been the subject of a round of discussions at Council. This has resulted in two relatively small changes to the proposal which are outlined in the Explanatory Memorandum. Since we are still waiting for the official text of the proposal as revised, this Explanatory Memorandum relates to the unofficial text.

  The latest round of discussions at Council are coming to a close and the text is to be tabled at the Environment Council on 16 December for agreement as a common position. I understand that this is the only text on which a common position is likely to be reached at Council, and there will be pressure on the UK to accept it. The Government has been supportive of the proposal and placing a parliamentary scrutiny reserve on it could cause us some political difficulties. In light of these exceptional circumstances, I would be grateful if your committee would consider this Explanatory Memorandum as a matter of some urgency, in time for the UK to give its view on the 16 December.

9 December 1997

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Nick Raynsford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

  I am writing in reply to your letter of 9 December on the above item requesting urgent scrutiny clearance.

  I acknowledge that discussions in the Council Working Group have meant that you were not previously in a position to deposit the latest version of this text. However, I must protest that allowing such inadequate time for Parliamentary Scrutiny is far from in keeping with the spirit of the Maastricht Treaty, let alone the letter of the Treaty of Amsterdam. I urge you to explore with your negotiating partners how such a circumstance can be avoided in future. In the meantime, the document has been sifted to Sub-Committee C for consideration, but I anticipate that it will be cleared in advance of the Environment Council.

11 December 1997




 
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