COMMONS

Meeting Summary: 19 March

20 March 2014

The European Scrutiny Committee met on Wednesday 19 March.

This week the Committee considered the following documents:

European Investigation Order and Relocation of European Police College (CEPOL)

Both these documents have been recommended for debate in European Committee, on 6 November 2013 and 8 January 2014 respectively.  In both cases the Government has failed to schedule a debate within a meaningful timescale.  In the case of the relocation of CEPOL, we ask the Home Office for an urgent explanation, retaining the Draft Regulation under scrutiny.  We regard the European Investigation Order as a particularly serious breach of scrutiny procedures, given that the Order (which creates a single instrument for obtaining evidence located in another Member State in the framework of criminal proceedings) is, arguably, the most significant Justice and Home Affairs measure the Government has opted into since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force.  We describe the Government’s failure to make time for the debate as "deplorable", rescind the recommendation for debate in European Committee (as it is now pointless, the measure having been adopted by Council), and instead invite the Home Secretary to give oral evidence to explain the Government’s actions.

The EU and Ukraine: restrictive measures

Last week we recommended two Council measures relating to the EU and the Ukraine for debate on the floor of the House.  The Council Decision and Draft Regulation target those responsible for human rights violations during the violent clashes in Ukraine between anti-government protestors and security forces during February 2014.  Since our Report, a debate has been held on the floor of the House on Ukraine, to which the Report was ‘tagged’ (ie listed as relevant).  Taking this into account, we rescind our decision to have a separate debate on these proposals, and clear them from scrutiny.

Invasive alien species

This Draft Regulation proposes measures to address the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, and to limit the damage they cause.  We previously considered it in October 2013 and February 2014.  There were differences in view among Member States on a number of important points, regarding the treatment of invasive alien species native to one or more Member States, but invasive elsewhere, and how regional flexibility would be provided.  Also, Denmark had introduced a proposal to allow high value agricultural species (in particular, mink) to be kept, bred and sold, which could be unfair to other sectors.  The Minister has now written saying that agreement has been reached on a text during trilogue which addresses—albeit to varying degrees—all of the UK objectives.  The Government also points out that the Regulation itself does not set out the species to which the measures will apply, this being the subject of a Commission proposal in 12 to 18 months following a risk assessment. We clear the document, noting that the Minister says that the Government will write to us again when that list and its implementing Regulation is proposed.

Other documents reported

We are also reporting on documents relating to:
  • Business, Innovation and Skills: Electronic identification and trust services;
  • Communities and Local Government: Environmental impact assessments;
  • Culture, Media and Sport: Tourism; Protocol on Cultural Co-operation to the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement;
  • FCO: EU-Azerbaijan co-operation; Restrictive measures against Egypt; EU-Singapore relations;
  • HM Treasury: Money Laundering and terrorist financing; Value added taxation; Financial assistance for non-eurozone Member States;
  • Home Office: Migration and Mobility; Task Force for the Mediterranean;

The Committee’s Forty-firstReport will be published next week. The Committee’s Thirty-ninth Report will be published shortly, covering Posting of workers; Banking Union: single resolution mechanism; Financial services: benchmarks; Animal cloning; Ocean energy; School milk and fruit schemes; Restrictive measures in Bosnia and Herzegovina; EU-Philippines relations; EU-Vietnam relations: Road safety:eCall; Emissions from road vehicles. The Committee’s Fortieth Report, on the EU and Ukraine: restrictive measures, was published on 14 March.

Further information:

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