Select Committee on European Communities Report


10.  DRAFT DECISION ON THE PROMOTION OF EUROPEAN PATHWAYS FOR WORK-LINKED TRAINING INCLUDING APPRENTICESHIPS "EUROPASS" (5208/98)

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment

  Sub-Committee F considered this document at their meeting on 4 March, and have asked me to write to you about it. The Sub-Committee noted that the proposal, as presently drafted, does not make it explicit that the Europass scheme will be voluntary. The Sub-Committee takes the view that the scheme should indeed be voluntary, and that it is necessary to make the voluntary nature of the scheme clear in the text of the document. The Sub-Committee therefore supports the Government's intention to press for the voluntary nature of the scheme to be made explicit.

  The Sub-Committee would be grateful to be kept informed of any developments, or new texts, which arise as a result of the Government's pressure. In the meantime, the Sub-Committee has agreed to clear the document from scrutiny.

11 March 1998

Letter from the Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Your letter of 11 March stated that Sub-Committee F had considered this document at its meeting on 4 March. The Sub-Committee agreed to clear the document from scrutiny and asked to be kept informed of developments or new texts.

  I attach a copy of the letter sent to Jimmy Hood, Chair of the Commons Select Committee on European Legislation, which contains the latest suggested text. This reinforces the voluntary nature of the proposal.

  I will of course be happy to respond to any further questions members may have.

3 April 1998

Annex

Letter to Jimmy Hood MP, Chair of the Select Committee on European Legislation, House of Commons

  I understand that at the meeting of the Committee on 18 February, my explanatory memorandum of 10 February did not clear scrutiny. The Committee was concerned that the language of the proposal did not make explicit its voluntary nature; and also wished to know whether I was satisfied that people undertaking work-linked training in the UK would qualify for the European pathways scheme.

  On the first point, it has been the concern of all Member States in the negotiations so far to ensure that participation in the system to be established by the Decision will be voluntary. At the last meeting of the Council working party which deals with this subject, it was agreed that this should be made clear by adding wording to Article 1. This would read "The use of this record and participation in a `European Pathway' are voluntary and do not impose any obligations or confer any rights other than those defined below". This suggestion was supported by the Member States.

  The Committee also enquired whether I was satisfied that people undertaking work-linked training in the UK would have access to "Europass-training". The latest text of the Decision is drafted to take account of the different training arrangements in Member States and will enable people in the UK, including those within privately-organised vocational training schemes, to participate in "European Pathways" in accordance with Article 3.

  I hope the above meets the Committee's concerns. We will keep the Committee informed of further progress in this respect.

3 April 1998

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to the Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment

  Thank you for your letter of 3 April letting us know the latest suggested text. It is very good of you to keep us informed.

  I shall circulate the letters to Sub-Committee F, who take a particular interest in this subject.

1 May 1998


 
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