IMPLEMENTATION OF EU LAW
92. Our scrutiny work does not cover directly the
implementation of EU law. We have accordingly considered whether
scrutiny of implementation is work that we should undertake, and
if so what are the implications for our other work. We also considered
how else the House might be able to scrutinise these matters.
Lord Howell of Guildford urged greater scrutiny at implementation
stage (Q 56). The European Policy Centre too suggested that
we should look at the implementation of EU law, not least to ensure
that there was not gold-plating
(p 51). Lord Inglewood MEP supported greater examination
of transposition of EU law (p 58).
93. Dr Caroline Jackson MEP was critical
of our efforts in examining the potential costs and practical
problems of implementation of EU law and cited specific examples
of where our reports could have been more hard-hitting, and could
have sounded a louder alarm on how prepared local government was
for implementation and the costs that would follow. She noted
that the Government was bringing forward cost impact assessments
and that the Commission was obliged to do so too. She suggested
that our Committees should question the Commission when these
estimates varied (p 61). Mr Larsen-Jensen noted that
the French did spend time scrutinising how EU legislation was
implemented in France but in his parliament that was a matter
for specialised committees making legislation (Q 104). Baroness
Williams of Crosby suggested that we should monitor "gold-plating"
in one or two specific areas (Q 166).
94. We agree that there is a need to be more alert
to the potential implications of the implementation of EU law
in this country. We have accordingly called for the Government
to do more to tell Parliament what their strategy will be for
implementing EU law. We have also called on the Government to
explain more fully its reasons when deciding whether to implement
by primary or secondary legislation (see paragraphs 47-48 above).
95. As for our own scrutiny, we will ensure that
every report takes into account an analysis of the cost and impact
assessments, based on scrutiny of figures from the Government
and the Commission when they are available and giving a clear
statement when they are not. This will, however, require us
to commission additional advice, as it is not work we ourselves
could undertake without detracting from our existing scrutiny.
Such work would be greatly enhanced if the European Parliament
was obliged to produce such a cost analysis of the effect of its
own proposed amendments to EU law and we call on those responsible
for Treaty amendment to ensure that such a procedure is introduced.
We will also continue on occasion to examine the working of extant
EU legislation, for example in anticipation of reviews required
under the Directives themselves.
96. As far as the House itself is concerned, we would
not wish to call on the Government to introduce more European
legislation by primary rather than secondary legislation. Instead
we would hope that the UK Parliament would do more to scrutinise
the delegated legislation by which European law is implemented.
We note that, where EU legislation is implemented by primary
legislation, the full Parliamentary scrutiny process comes into
play. This will include not only consideration by the two Houses
but also by specialised committees such as the Joint Committee
on Human Rights. Scrutiny of secondary legislation implementing
EU legislation, however, is weak and needs to be strengthened.
97. To this end, we first note that the Delegated
Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee does where appropriate
consider, in assessing whether the delegation of power is appropriate,
whether that power could be used to implement EU law.
We recommend that, in addition, the scrutiny of delegated legislation
implementing EU law be a key task of the House's proposed new
committee on Statutory Instruments. We would hope that the new
committee would, wherever possible, analyse implementing instruments
against concerns expressed during our own consideration of the
European instrument. We will do all we can to assist the new committee,
including making Sub-Committee Chairmen available to give evidence
where necessary. The new committee could
also, as suggested by Lord Howell of Guildford, invite the views
of MEPs on whether any gold-plating had taken place (Q 73).
We draw the new Committee's attention to the evidence we received
from the Corporation of London concerning the need for better
scrutiny of secondary legislation implementing EU law, especially
in the field of financial services (p 49-50).