C. LEGAL AND PROCEDURAL ISSUES
51. PROPOSED COUNCIL REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE IDENTIFICATION
AND REGISTRATION OF CATTLE AND LABELLING OF BEEF AND BEEF PRODUCTS
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee,
to Mrs Angela Browning MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Sub-Committee D (Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) considered
these proposals at its meeting this morning. Your Supplementary
Explanatory Memoranda drew attention to a change in the legal
base, from Article 43 of the Treaty to Article 100a, and I would
be grateful if you could provide the following clarification.
Having regard to the decision of the Court of Justice in Case
68/86 Hormones, do you consider that Article 100a is an
appropriate legal base for these Regulations? Secondly, would
consultation of the European Parliament pursuant to Article 43
satisfy the requirements of Article 189b as regards a first reading
under the co-decision procedure or would the legislative procedure
have to start again? Pending your reply the documents are being
retained under scrutiny.
19 March 1997
Letter from Mrs Angela Browning MP, Parliamentary Secretary,
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to Lord Tordoff,
Chairman of the Committee
Thank you for your letter of 19 March in response to the
Supplementary Explanatory Memoranda (SEMs) on these two proposals
which I sent to you on 10 March. These SEMs indicated that there
was a possibility of either adoption of a Common Position or of
final adoption at the March Agriculture Council, which began on
17 March. I note that Sub-Committee D was unable to clear the
document due to concerns about the possibility of a change of
legal base from Article 43 to Article 100a.
I am writing to let you know that the Council agreed unanimously
to adopt the proposals under Article 43. We were able to secure
a text that is both workable and solves the various technical
issues that had been of concern to the Government during the negotiation.
The Government welcomes this decision which will develop and reinforce
the labelling of beef in order to reassure consumers of its quality
and will enable us to press ahead with our plans to build a computerised
database of cattle movements in Great Britain. I am sure that
you and Sub-Committee D will therefore understand why the UK voted
in favour of these proposals.
I have not addressed the specific questions you raised on
the Article 100a procedure as they have been overtaken by events.
However, I can advise you that the Government did not welcome
the prospect of a change in legal base to Article 100a, not least
because co-decision procedure would have delayed, by a considerable
time, adoption and implementation of the proposals.
24 March 1997