European Scrutiny Committee

No. 9
(Session 2002-03)


INQUIRY INTO THE REPORT OF THE CONVENTION'S  WORKING GROUP X ON "FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE"

The European Scrutiny Committee has decided to conduct a short inquiry examining the report of working group X of the Convention on the Future of Europe, entitled "Freedom, Security and Justice".

The working group's proposals are far-reaching, and include:

  • extension of qualified majority voting and the process of co-decision by the Council of Ministers and European Parliament to legislation on asylum and immigration, measures of judicial co-operation concerning parental responsibility, and some criminal matters;

  • approximation of certain areas of criminal law (for serious crimes with a cross-border dimension) and procedure (e.g. common minimum rules on the admissibility of evidence);

  • providing specific legal bases for a common asylum system, a common policy on immigration, an integrated system of border management and mutual recognition of judicial decisions;

  • Commission competence to bring infraction proceedings relating to criminal matters;

  • more extensive European Court of Justice jurisdiction over criminal matters.

The Committee plans to report before Easter.  Anyone wishing to submit written evidence should send it by Friday 14 March 2003 to Jane Fox, Second Clerk, European Scrutiny Committee.

Evidence should be sent in Word or Wordperfect format to [email protected].  The e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. Submissions should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and it would be helpful to include a brief executive summary.  Those submitting evidence are reminded that evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted no public use should be made of it, but those wishing to publish their evidence before it is published by the Committee are invited to contact the Clerk of the Committee to obtain permission to do so.

Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

For further information telephone 020 7219 0861.

3 March 2003


Notes for Editors

The main purpose of the European Scrutiny Committee is to report to the House on the legal and political importance of each EU document and to determine which EU documents are debated. Such debates take place either in a European Standing Committee or on the Floor of the House. The Committee normally reports weekly on a range of documents when the House is sitting.  Under the House's scrutiny reserve resolution, Ministers should not agree to EU proposals until the Committee has completed its consideration of them, or any debate it has recommended has taken place.  The Committee also monitors business in the Council of Ministers, especially the activities of UK Ministers in the Council, and produces occasional reports on wider EU developments.

The Convention on the Future of Europe was set up to prepare proposals for the EU's Inter-Governmental Conference in 2004.  It began meeting in January 2002, and is due to present its proposals by the end of 2003.  Much of its work has been carried out through a series of working groups.  It is currently drafting a new constitutional treaty, which is expected to incorporate many of the working groups' proposals.  The European Scrutiny Committee's main contribution to debate in the Convention was a report of June 2002 on Democracy and accountability in the EU and the role of national parliaments (Thirty-third report of 2001-02, HC 152-xxxiii).

The Committee has 16 Members, as follows:

Jimmy Hood MP (Chairman) - Labour - Clydesdale
Richard Bacon MP - Conservative - South Norfolk
Colin Breed MP - Lib Dem - Cornwall South East
Roger Casale MP - Labour - Wimbledon
William Cash MP - Conservative - Stone
Michael Connarty MP - Labour - Falkirk East
Tony Cunningham MP - Labour - Workington
Wayne David MP - Labour - Caerphilly
Terry Davis MP - Labour - Birmingham Hodge Hill
Jim Dobbin MP - Labour/Co-op - Heywood & Middleton
Mark Hendrick MP - Labour - Preston
Jim Marshall MP - Labour - Leicester South
Anne McIntosh MP - Conservative - Vale of York
Angus Robertson MP - SNP - Moray
Anthony Steen MP - Conservative - Totnes
Bill Tynan MP - Labour - Hamilton South

The text of all Committee publications, including Press Notices and Reports, can be found on the Committee's website:                                                                          http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/european_scrutiny.cfm

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