Select Committee on European Communities Report



50.  PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE ON CONNECTED TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT AND THE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF THE CONFORMITY OF THE EQUIPMENT (ALSO KNOWN AS THE DIRECTIVE ON THE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF THE CONFORMITY OF RADIO AND TELECOMMUNICATION TERMINAL EQUIPMENT)

Letter from Barbara Roche MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Firms, Trade and Industry, Department for Trade and Industry, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  The proposal for a Directive on connected telecommunications equipment has been the subject of four separate explanatory memoranda. The memorandum 8944/97 on the original Commission Proposal of29 July 1997 was referred by the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities to Sub-Committee B but the Committee did not report on it. (Progress of Scrutiny, 12 December 1997). A supplementary explanatory memorandum on the revised text of the draft proposal prepared under the Luxembourg Presidency was submitted on 16 January 1998 but the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities did not report on it. (Progress of Scrutiny, 30 January 1998). An OTNA explanatory memorandum with a copy of the Presidency compromise text and an OTNYR explanatory memorandum with a copy of the European Parliament's amendments proposed at its first reading of the original Commission proposal submitted on 16 February 1998 have been submitted for consideration by Sub-Committee B. The Commons Committee have completed their scrutiny of these documents.

  This is an important directive for the UK, in parallel with the liberalisation of networks—its negotiation has been a priority for the UK Presidency. The UK Presidency has worked hard to achieve a satisfactory text on which a Common Position is likely to be sought at the Telecomms Council on 26 February. I am writing now to advise you that if agreement can be reached next Thursday on a text which is acceptable to the UK I consider it would not be in the UK's interest to maintain a reserve. In those circumstances, I would therefore need to lift the Parliamentary Scrutiny reserve put down by officials at an early stage in the discussion, and which we have maintained hitherto, before your Committee will have completed its Scrutiny consideration.

  I am extremely aware of the requirement to provide your Committee with an adequate opportunity to complete scrutiny on proposals for Community legislation. I hope that on this occasion you will understand that since this Directive is a measure which is of benefit to the UK and upon which negotiations have been difficult why it may be necessary to lift the UK's Parliamentary Scrutiny reserve to secure agreement to an acceptable text.

23 February 1998

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Barbara Roche MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Firms, Trade and Industry Department of Trade and Industry

  Thank you for your letter of 23 February informing me that the United Kingdom Presidency hopes to agree a Common Position on the above proposal at the forthcoming Telecommunications Council on 26 February.

  Your explanatory memoranda of 16 February on the Presidency compromise text have been sifted to Sub-Committee B for scrutiny. Whilst I understand your reasons for wishing to reach a Common Position on this text, it is regrettable that the Select Committee will be unable to exercise effective scrutiny of the proposal.

  I should be grateful if you will keep me informed at the earliest stage of developments regarding agreement on this text.

25 February 1998


 
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