Select Committee on European Communities Report


33.  SCRUTINY OF EMU DOCUMENTS

Letter from Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  This letter aims to make progress in clearing a documents on EMU remaining before your Committee, and bring you up to date on progress with some others.

  First of all, I would like to clear up confusion on Document No. 12454/97. This document is linked to the Council Regulation on denominations and technical specifications of euro coin (the "105a(2) Regulation"), but is not in itself a proposal. The 105a(2) Regulation cleared scrutiny on the basis of an explanatory memorandum submitted 20 June 1997 on document 8820/97 (Lords Chairman's 924th Sift of 30 June 1997; Commons on 21 January 1998, Report No 13 Session 97/98, on the basis of a Ministerial letter dated 12 January 1998), after correspondence on the issue of suitability of the coins for the blind. As a result of comments made through the European Parliament and from Member States the Commission undertook some minor clarifications of the proposal, and corrected two transcription errors. I am sorry this has not been formally made clear to you before, although I gather that it has been explained at official level. As the substance of the proposal was clearly and thoroughly dealt with in the scrutiny of the original Regulation. I hope that you can agree to clear the document, which is attached for your convenience.

  Secondly, I would like to bring you up to date with progress on the secondary legislation establishing the European Central Bank. These four texts cleared scrutiny on the basis of an explanatory memorandum submitted 23 March 1998 on document 6397/98 (referred at the Lords Chairman 951st Sift of 30 March to Sub-Committee A who reported the document as a List C document not requiring further action in the 9 April 1998 issue of Progress of Scrutiny; Commons on 1 April 1998 Report No 23 Session 97/98). A Council Working Group was held on 28 May to agree a few minor drafting changes. None of the texts have been substantively altered, and three of the texts were formally adopted on Friday 5 June at ECOFIN. The fourth item (on consultation of the ECB by national authorities) remains subject to a Finnish scrutiny reserve. I attach final copies of the three agreed texts and the latest version of the fourth text.

  Finally, I would like to add a thank you for the speedy and effective way in which your Committee contributed to the scrutiny of the documents for the main EMU membership decisions in late April. All of us were working to a tight timetable, and your input and cooperation were greatly appreciated.

24 June 1998

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Mrs Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury

  Thank you for your letter of 24 June, which Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs, Trade and External Relations) considered at its meeting yesterday. The Sub-Committee agreed to clear document 12454/97 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins.

  The Sub-Committee were also grateful to you for brining us up to date with progress on the secondary legislation establishing the European Central Bank.

  Thank you also for your kind remarks about the Committee's scrutiny of documents for the main EMU membership decisions. I should mention, however, that the Sub-Committee remain concerned about the late submission of a number of Explanatory Memoranda by the Treasury on other issues.

1 July 1998

Letter from Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter of 1 July in response to mine of 24 June. I should like to take this opportunity to bring the Committee up to date on several other pieces of EMU legislation which have been activated since my letter of 24 June.

  The European Central Bank last week unexpectedly agreed its recommendations on minimum reserves, sanctions and statistics. The texts will be deposited in the usual way, and I hope to be able to submit an Explanatory Memorandum on them before the recess. The Austrian Presidency intend for these documents to be considered by a Council Working Group in September.

  The Committee should also be aware that the Commission have very recently produced a recommendation for a Council Decision concerning exchange rate matters relating to the CFA franc and the Comorian franc. The Austrian Presidency plan to adopt the text before the end of this month and, since the Decision will be adopted under Article 109(3) of the Treaty, the UK will not be able to vote in the Council on its adoption. We therefore have no ability to place a scrutiny reserve on the text and little influence over the timing. However, in order to give the Committee an opportunity to consider the text before it comes up for adoption in the Council, I have arranged for it to be deposited this week and for an Explanatory Memorandum to be submitted in the next few days.

17 July 1998


 
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