European Scrutiny Committee

No. 17
(Session 2003-04)


The Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into the EU's constitutional treaty, in which it will examine the following specific aspects of the treaty:

  1. The practical consequences of the new references (in Articles 2 and 3) to the Union's values and objectives.

  2. Whether the treaty makes "enhanced cooperation" more likely.

  3. How public meetings of the Council when legislating would work in practice - in particular, how much would be public.

  4. How the new Council Presidency and new Foreign Minister would work, and the relationship between the European Council Presidency and the Presidency of individual Council formations.

  5. The extent to which the UK Government held its red lines over QMV relating to treaty changes, taxation, social security, defence, criminal procedural law, the system of own resources and the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

  6. The effectiveness of the emergency brakes in criminal justice and other matters.

  7. The effect of the "horizontal" clauses which govern the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

  8. The treaty's criminal justice provisions (following up the Committee's report of July 2003 on The Convention's proposals on criminal justice, HC 63-xxvi, 2002-03).

  9. What the consequences would be if the treaty is not ratified.

Anyone wishing to submit written evidence on any or all of these aspects is asked to do so by Wednesday 8 September.  Written evidence should be sent to Dorian Gerhold, Clerk of the European Scrutiny Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, or e-mailed to [email protected].

The Foreign Secretary will give oral evidence to the Committee on Wednesday 15 September at 2.30 p.m.

For further information telephone 020 7219 5467/6481/3292.

22 July 2004

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 Committee has 14 Members at present, as follows:

Jimmy Hood MP (Chairman) - Labour - Clydesdale
Richard Bacon MP - Conservative - South Norfolk
William Cash MP - Conservative - Stone
Michael Connarty MP - Labour - Falkirk East
Wayne David MP - Labour - Caerphilly
Jim Dobbin MP - Labour/Co-op - Heywood & Middleton
Nick Harvey MP - Lib Dem - North Devon
David Heathcoat-Amory MP - Conservative - Wells
Sandra Osborne MP - Labour - Ayr
Anne Picking MP - Labour - East Lothian
Angus Robertson MP - SNP - Moray
John Robertson MP - Labour - Glasgow Anniesland
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:                                                                

If you would like to receive future Press Notices by e-mail, please send your details to [email protected]