FIRST SPECIAL REPORT
The Foreign Affairs Committee has agreed
to the following Special Report:
APPOINTMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATIVES
TO THE CONVENTION ON THE FUTURE OF EUROPE
1. The Laeken Council of EU leaders held on 15 December
2001 established a Convention on the Future of Europe. The Convention
is an important body, which will play a crucial role in setting
the agenda for the Intergovernmental Conference to be held in
late 2004. It is to start work in March 2002 and to complete its
deliberations in a year or so, in good time for the options it
produces to be debated throughout the Union. Its membership must
therefore be decided shortly. Among its membership will be representatives
of the national Parliaments of Member States, including two members
and two alternates representing the United Kingdom Parliament.
2. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee
has been in correspondence with the Foreign Secretary and with
the Prime Minister about how these appointments should be made.
Questions have also been raised in the House.
To date (10 January 2002) no reply has been received from the
Prime Minister, but the remainder of the correspondence, together
with a relevant extract from Hansard, is published with
this Special Report.
3. A key constitutional principle is involved in
the choice of representatives. National Parliaments are to be
represented separately from Governments. Those representing Parliament
should be, and be seen to be, true representatives of Parliament,
and not the choice of Government. Such representatives should
come not only from the government party. If they are to enjoy
the confidence of Parliament, they must be selected only after
full consultation with relevant Parliamentary bodies, including
the Foreign Affairs Committee.
2 See HC Deb, 17 December 2001, cols. 19-37 &
8 January 2002, cols. 407-410. Back
See Appendix. Back