Select Committee on European Communities Eleventh Report


C. LEGAL AND PROCEDURAL ISSUES

51. PROPOSED COUNCIL REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE IDENTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION OF CATTLE AND LABELLING OF BEEF AND BEEF PRODUCTS (10495/96)

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Mrs Angela Browning MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

  Sub-Committee D (Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) considered these proposals at its meeting this morning. Your Supplementary Explanatory Memoranda drew attention to a change in the legal base, from Article 43 of the Treaty to Article 100a, and I would be grateful if you could provide the following clarification. Having regard to the decision of the Court of Justice in Case 68/86 Hormones, do you consider that Article 100a is an appropriate legal base for these Regulations? Secondly, would consultation of the European Parliament pursuant to Article 43 satisfy the requirements of Article 189b as regards a first reading under the co-decision procedure or would the legislative procedure have to start again? Pending your reply the documents are being retained under scrutiny.

19 March 1997

Letter from Mrs Angela Browning MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter of 19 March in response to the Supplementary Explanatory Memoranda (SEMs) on these two proposals which I sent to you on 10 March. These SEMs indicated that there was a possibility of either adoption of a Common Position or of final adoption at the March Agriculture Council, which began on 17 March. I note that Sub-Committee D was unable to clear the document due to concerns about the possibility of a change of legal base from Article 43 to Article 100a.

  I am writing to let you know that the Council agreed unanimously to adopt the proposals under Article 43. We were able to secure a text that is both workable and solves the various technical issues that had been of concern to the Government during the negotiation. The Government welcomes this decision which will develop and reinforce the labelling of beef in order to reassure consumers of its quality and will enable us to press ahead with our plans to build a computerised database of cattle movements in Great Britain. I am sure that you and Sub-Committee D will therefore understand why the UK voted in favour of these proposals.

  I have not addressed the specific questions you raised on the Article 100a procedure as they have been overtaken by events. However, I can advise you that the Government did not welcome the prospect of a change in legal base to Article 100a, not least because co-decision procedure would have delayed, by a considerable time, adoption and implementation of the proposals.

24 March 1997




 
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