39. In the time available to us we have not had the opportunity
to examine the issues in as much depthor to take evidence
from as wide a range of bodiesas we would have wished.
We have not sought, therefore, to make firm recommendations but
rather to draw some broad conclusions and identify some areas
of concern, as a contribution to the continuing debate in and
around the Convention. Our main conclusions are as follows:
· Further consideration needs
to be given to whether "equality" should be included
as a value of the Union (paragraph 10).
· If "full employment"
is included as an objective, it will be important to establish
a clear understanding of what it means (paragraphs 11).
· There is little pressure
in the United Kingdom for any general extension of the competence
of the EU in the social policy area, but there is a case for extending
it to public health, provided that such an extension is confined
to issues that are genuinely cross-border and does not impinge
on Member States' control over how their health services are run
· There is a need to clarify
(and simplify) the legal base of EU social policy, and in particular
the extent to which different aspects of social policy are areas
of shared competence (paragraph 15).
· It is doubtful whether in
a Union of 25 unanimity will offer a practicable means of agreeing
measures in the social policy field (paragraph 20).
· National parliaments should
have an opportunity to scrutinise action taken under the Open
Method of Co-ordination at an early stage in the process (paragraph
· There would be advantage
in giving the Open Method of Co-ordination a Treaty base, provided
that it does not reduce the present flexibility of its application
· If the social partners and
civil society are to be given a greater role in the decision-making
of the Union, a number of important issues need to be clarified
· Any amendment of Article
16 EC relating to services of general interest would be fraught
with difficulty (paragraphs 38-39).
40. We make this report to the House for information.