Select Committee on European Communities Report


30.  CODE OF CONDUCT FOR COMPUTERISED RESERVATION SYSTEMS (CRSs)

Letter from the Rt Hon Gavin Strang MP, Minister for Transport, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  We are entering the final stages of negotiations towards a common position on this proposed Regulation, which we expect will be agreed unanimously at the Transport Council on 18 June. Securing agreement to this legislation, which would provide a modest but significant improvement in protection for air passengers, and increase the amount of information available at the point of sale, has been one of the objectives of our aviation programme in the UK Presidency.

  We have been negotiating on the basis of clearances from Sub-Committee B of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities on 16 October 1997, and from the House of Commons Select Committee on European Legislation on 29 October 1997, following the submission of Explanatory Memorandum number 10001/97 dated 15 August 1997. A supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of the same number, dated 1 December 1997, reported on the outcome of the consultation of UK industry. The text that will be put to the Council follows closely the Commission's original proposal, with some clarification, and fully meets the UK's policy objectives as set out in the earlier Memoranda.

  The European Parliament has recently delivered its Opinion, which proposes some technical amendments which do not affect the substance of the proposal. It is possible that before the Council the Commission will present an amended proposal reflecting the Parliament's amendments. But this will have been overtaken by events. Delegations have already considered the Parliament's Opinion and have retained only a few of its proposals, mainly those of a clarificatory nature.

  I will submit an Explanatory Memorandum when the Commission's amended proposal arrives. In the circumstances, I am sure you will agree that we should not re-enter a Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve if the amended proposal arrives before 18 June, but should vote for the Regulation in Council on the basis of the existing Memoranda.

4 June 1998

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee to The Rt Hon Gavin Strang MP, Minister for Transport, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

  Thank you for your letter dated 4 June on the above proposal.

  In your letter you set out your reasons for not entering a Parliamentary scrutiny reserve if the amended proposal arrives before 18 June, the date on which you hope to reach agreement at Transport Council.

  In these circumstances, I accept that the scrutiny reserve should not apply to the proposal at this stage. I look forward to receiving your Explanatory Memorandum when the Commission's amended proposal does arrive.

10 June 1998


 
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