Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

EU Committee of Permanent Representatives

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is the head of state or government holding the Presidency who decides on the agenda of European Council meetings and writes to colleagues to inform them. This often happens at short notice just before the European Council meets. It is therefore difficult for COREPER to prepare these agenda items in great detail.

Some of the items on the agenda have been the subject of considerable discussion and negotiation in COREPER and other Council formations and are put to the European Council for attention or for resolution. Other agenda items are for political orientation and do not need extensive preparation or are new initiatives which are given political approval before going to working level for negotiation.

7 Feb 2002 : Column WA112

The question of the rotating Persidency, as well as the workings of COREPER and the European Council are all likely to be addressed in the forthcoming exercise on Council reform as well as in the Convention on the Future of Europe. The UK Government will press for decisions on these processes to make the Council more efficient and effective.

EU Council Meetings: Scrutiny Arrangement

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements exist, or have been agreed by the Government, for pre-scrutiny of items expected or formally tabled at the meetings of the Council of the European Union and Community; whether any distinction is made within those meetings on actions or decisions made on powers contained in the Union and Community treaties respectively; and whether they consider that any such arrangements comply with the standards of visibility and transparency expected in the United Kingdom and the European Union respectively.[HL2584]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government are committed to effective scrutiny. New arrangements were introduced to extend and improve scrutiny on 17 November 1998. Information is provided to the Scrutiny Committees of both Houses about items on the agenda of forthcoming Council meetings. The Government also send to Parliament proposals for European legislation coming before the Council of Ministers as well as other documents which may have important policy, legislative or financial implications, under all three pillars of EU activity.

The long preparation of decisions coming to Council meetings means that the differing procedures and powers under each of the treaties is fully taken in account, and it is clear under which treaty the action is being taken. Most Councils, with the exception of the General Affairs Council, deal with areas which fall either under the Treaty on European Union or the Community treaties, but not both.

The Government believe that Parliament is now more fully and promptly informed about forthcoming decisions and published documents, and that UK scrutiny arrangements compare favourably with arrangements in many other EU member states.

EU Committee of the Regions: UK Representatives

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who are the United Kingdom's representatives on the European Union's Committee of the Regions.[HL2747]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have submitted to the Council Secretariat details of the United Kingdom's 24 nominees for full membership of

7 Feb 2002 : Column WA113

the Committee of the Regions, along with 24 alternate nominees. They are:

UK Delegation to the Committee of the Regions: Full Members

Muriel BarkerNorth East Lincolnshire (Unitary) District
Derek BodenLeader of the North West Regional Assembly
Ken Bodfish OBELeader of Brighton & Hove City Council
Sir Albert BoreLeader of Birmingham City Council
Keith BrownLeader of Clackmannanshire Council
Rosemary Butler AMNational Assembly for Wales, Newport West
Ruth ColemanExecutive Member of North Wiltshire County Council
Michael DaveyLeader of Northumberland County Council
Sir Simon DayChairman of Devon County Council
Margaret EatonLeader of Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council
Baroness (Joan) HanhamLondon Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Lord HanningfieldEssex County Council
Gordon KeymerLeader of Tanbridge District Council
Christine MayLeader of Fife Council
Peter MooreLiberal Democrat Leader of Sheffield Metropolitan Borough Council
Dermot Nesbitt MLAJunior Minister in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
Alban Maginness MLANorthern Ireland Assembly
Irene Oldfather MSPScottish Parliament, Cunninghame South
Dame Sally PowellLondon Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
Brian SmithTorfaen County Borough Council
Nicol Stephen MSPScottish Deputy Minister for Education and Young People
The Hon Joan TaylorNottinghamshire County Council
Lord Tope CBELiberal Democrat Leader of the Greater London Assembly
Milner WhitemanBridgnorth District Council

UK Delegation to the Committee of the Regions: Alternate Members

Jennette ArnoldMember of the Greater London Assembly
Joan AshtonIndependent Group Leader and Deputy Leader of Boston District Council
Ruth BagnallLabour Group Leader of Cambridge City Council
Olive BrownLeader of Wear Valley District Council
Diane BunyanDeputy Leader of Bristol City Council
Flo CluclasLiverpool City Council
Hugh Halcro-Johnston MSPConvener, Orkney Islands Council and Vice-President of COSLA
Dr Ruth Henig CBEChair of Lancashire Police Authority
Jonathan HuishRhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
Elin JonesAssembly Member for Ceredigion
Susie KempOpposition Leader of West Berkshire County Council
Lord Tarsem KingMayor of Sandwell District Council
Sue Sida LockettConservative Group Leader of Suffolk County Council
Corrie McChordLeader of Stirling Council
Jack McConnell MSPFirst Minister
Irene McGugan MSPShadow Spokesperson for Children and Education
Bob NeillMember of the Greater London Assembly, Bexley and Bromley
Margaret RitchieDistrict Councillor, Down District Council
George Savage MLANorthern Ireland Assembly, Upper Bann
David ShakespeareLeader of Buckinghamshire County Council
Shirley SmartLeader of Isle of Wight Unitary Council
Jim Speechley CBELeader of Lincolnshire County Council
Liz TuckerLiberal Democrat Leader of Worcestershire County Council
Sir Ron Watson CBESefton Metropolitan Borough Council

7 Feb 2002 : Column WA114

Meat Imports: Heathrow Airport

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What additional resources have been allocated to Heathrow airport in the way of financial aid and personnel to monitor imported meats coming into the United Kingdom since the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. [HL2482]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): All products of animal origin imported from third countries into the UK must enter at designated UK border inspection posts (BIPs) where they are subject to veterinary inspections. The inspection services at a BIP are the responsibility of the local authority or port health authority, in the case of Heathrow, the London Borough of Hillingdon. It is their responsibility to deploy appropriate inspection staff at the BIP in response to the volume and nature of the products imported through the BIP. At the Heathrow BIP, there are currently 10 environmental health officers, three official veterinary surgeons and 10 other staff involved in the monitoring of imported meats coming into the UK but these figures will vary.

London Borough of Hillingdon environmental health officers and H M Customs officers also carry out checks for the presence of illegally imported meat and other animal products in passengers' luggage. in addition, State Veterinary Service staff, who are present at Heathrow to check imported live animals, are also empowered to deal with illegally imported animal products when they are found. No additional resources have been allocated since February 2001 but there has been greater coordination between the authorities at Heathrow in conducting checks and other duties.

Assured Food Standards

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the red tractor symbol can be legitimately displayed on products that originate outside the United Kingdom. [HL2642]

Lord Whitty: The red tractor is a private industry-led initiative which is administered by Assured Food

7 Feb 2002 : Column WA115

Standards. Imported products produced to standards equivalent to those of qualifying British assurance schemes would be eligible to carry the symbol. This is in line with the requirements of EU single market and competition rules. We understand that currently no non-UK products are carrying the symbol.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page