B. CASES WHERE EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE |
49. TRADE CONCESSIONS FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC
OF MACEDONIA (FYROM)
Letter from Lord Clinton-Davis, Minister for Trade,
Department of Trade and Industry, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
I am writing to inform you that it is possible the Government
will have to agree to the adoption of a proposal by Council before
your Committee has had a chance to consider it.
The proposal in question concerns the management by the Commission
of the trade concessions contained in the EU/FYROM Cooperation
Agreement which will enter into force on 1 January 1998. It is
routine in nature but necessary to enable the concessions (tariff
free ceilings and quotas) to be utilised. Unfortunately, the Commission
were late in coming forward with this proposal. Member States
did not receive it until 16 December. At a meeting of the Council
Working Group shortly afterwards, the UK placed a Parliamentary
scrutiny reserve. All other Member States could accept the proposal
This item will now fall to the UK Presidency to take forward.
In that capacity, and with no opposition from other Member States,
the UK is duty bound to have the proposal adopted as soon as possible.
In such circumstances, when the vote takes place (qualified majority
voting applies in this case) standing instructions are that the
UK would have to maintain its Parliamentary scrutiny reserve and
abstain. My officials have consulted the FCO and Cabinet Office.
It would not appear good at the start of our Presidency (and indeed
our relations with FYROM) if we were to do this for a routine
proposal which the Government fully supports. UKREP has told the
Commission that we were unhappy that the proposal was submitted
so late and the difficulties it caused.
At the start of business in Brussels in the New Year, I therefore
propose to instruct our representative to indicate that the UK
Parliamentary scrutiny reservation will be lifted when the time
comes for adoption in Council, if not before. This may or may
not be before your Committee has considered the proposal. We will
again make our feelings quite clear to the Commission about its
handling of this proposal. I regret having to do this but I hope
you will understand our motives in this instance.
22 December 1997
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee,
to Lord Clinton-Davis, Minister for Trade, Department of Trade
Thank you for your letter of 22 December 1997. I appreciate
the situation with which the Government was faced but much regret
that this is yet another example of how the provisions of the
Maastricht Treaty are being flouted (to say nothing of the spirit
of the Amsterdam Treaty). I very much hope that the British Presidency
will mark a turning point in the presentation of documents and
that in future we can look forward to provision being made for
the proper six weeks for scrutiny.
12 January 1998