Select Committee on European Communities Report


Letter from Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, to the Rt Hon Lord Barnett, Chairman of Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs, Trade and External Relations)

  Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the European Communities Committee recently considered the Scrutiny handling of three Agenda 2000 documents on which HM Treasury has the lead. These set out Commission proposals on the Loan Guarantee Fund (LGF) regulation—no. 7138/98; the future Financial Perspective 2000-2006—no. 7046/98; and the Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA) report—no. 7221/98, respectively.

  Brussels discussions on the three documents are likely to progress at different rates. The LGF, which your Committee has cleared, is a minor technical regulation on which there might be reasonably early progress.

  On the other hand, the report on the future Financial Perspective 2000-2006 is of considerable political importance. It makes proposals for the expenditure side of the EC's future financial structure for 2000-06. This document has been referred to your Sub-Committee for consideration.

  You have also cleared the third report on the remaining aspects of the IIA. The Commission will, in due course, publish a further paper which translates these proposals and those for the financial perspective into the legal form of a draft IIA. They will publish proposals on the revenue (or "own resources") side of the financial arrangements in the autumn.

  I imagine that you would want to take these papers into account in debate. To permit this, the Government intends to hold the debate after the summer recess. This will, of course, be after the Cardiff European Council. However given the magnitude of the future financing dossier, and political consideration in other member states, we do not expect substantive decisions on it until late 1998 or the first part of 1999. The conclusions of Cardiff on this dossier are likely to be no more than preparatory. We do not therefore believe that the scrutiny debate will be devalued by our intended timing: indeed we hope that the availability of the full package of Commission papers should make the debate more fruitful.

8 June 1998

Letter from the Rt Hon Lord Barnett, Chairman of Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs, Trade and External Relations), to Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury

  Thank you very much indeed for your letter of 8 June about the arrangements for scrutiny of the future financing proposals. I am most grateful to you for keeping me informed, and hope that you will continue to do so as negotiations develop.

  You will no doubt have already received the letter which Lord Tordoff[19] wrote to you last week about the difficulties in scrutinising the Broad Economic Guidelines document.

15 June 1998

19   Printed on p80. Back

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