European Scrutiny Committee

No. 2
Session 2002-03


ORAL EVIDENCE ON REFORM OF THE COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

On Wednesday 11 December 2002 at 10.40 am, the European Scrutiny Committee will be taking oral evidence from Lord Whitty, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Farming, Food and Sustainable Energy) at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  The evidence will be in Committee Room 19.

The evidence will cover the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy, with particular reference to the relationship between CAP reform and the enlargement of the EU.

For further information telephone 020 7219 3297.

6 December 2002

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.  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 Scrutiny Reserve Resolution, passed by the House, is crucial to the Committee's work.  Under that Resolution Ministers are constrained from agreeing to EU legislative or other proposals until parliamentary scrutiny is completed.  There are certain circumstances in which agreement is nevertheless permitted, but in such cases the European Scrutiny Committee or the House must be informed as soon as possible.

The 1992 reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) introduced major changes by shifting the emphasis of Community support away from intervention and support buying in favour of direct income payments to farmers.  Further changes, intended to enable the accession of countries in central and eastern Europe and to ensure that the CAP remains compatible with World Trade Organisation rules, were taken as part of the Agenda 2000 measures agreed at the European Council in Berlin in March 1999.  That Council also asked the Commission to carry out a mid-term review of the Agenda 2000 reforms, and this was the subject of a Commission Communication in July 2002, which will be supplemented, probably early next year, by more detailed legislative proposals.

The Committee has 16 Members, as follows:

Jimmy Hood MP (Chairman) - Labour - Clydesdale
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
Angela Watkinson MP - Conservative - Upminster

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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