European Scrutiny Committee

No. 1
(Session 2003-04)




ORAL EVIDENCE FROM STEPHEN TIMMS MP ON (i) NUCLEAR SAFETY; (ii) THE ENERGY PROVISIONS OF THE EU'S DRAFT CONSTITUTIONAL TREATY

 TUESDAY 2 DECEMBER 2003

On Tuesday 2 December the European Scrutiny Committee will take evidence in public from Stephen Timms MP, Minister for Energy, E-Commerce and Postal Services, Department of Trade and Industry, on Nuclear Safety and on the energy provisions of the EU's draft Constitutional Treaty.  This evidence session will take place at 10.30 am in Committee Room No. 19 on the Upper Committee Corridor, House of Commons.

For further information telephone 020 7219 6481/3292

26 November 2003

Note for Editors

(i) Nuclear Safety

  1. Civil nuclear activities within the Community are regulated by the Euratom Treaty, which governs the supply of nuclear materials, and seeks to ensure that these are not diverted from their intended uses.  However, although the Community also has a locus as regards health protection, the safety of nuclear installations (in terms of their design and operation) has tended to be a matter of national competence.

  2. This led the Commission to produce in November 2002 a Communication setting out the case for extending Community competence on nuclear safety, and it subsequently brought forward in January 2003 two draft Council Directives, one of which deals with the general principles governing the safety of nuclear installations.  When the Committee considered these documents on 10 July 2003, it cleared the Communication, but not the draft Directives. 

(ii) The energy provisions of the EU's draft constitutional treaty

The draft treaty includes energy as a shared competence.

The draft constitutional treaty was drawn up by the Convention on the Future of Europe, which consisted of government representatives, national parliamentarians, MEPs and members of the European Commission, and was chaired by Giscard d'Estaing. It is being considered by an Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) which began in October 2003.  The IGC consists of the Heads of State and Government of the countries of the European Union and of the accession countries (eight countries in eastern Europe and Cyprus and Malta).  It will be the IGC which makes the final decisions on the draft constitutional treaty, subject to national ratification.

The European Scrutiny Committee has published two Reports on the Convention's proposals:  Twenty-fourth Report of Session 2002-03, The Convention on the Future of Europe and the Role of National Parliaments (HC 63-xxiv) and Twenty-sixth Report, The Convention's proposals on criminal justice (HC 63-xxvi).

The Committee

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 16 Members, as follows:

Jimmy Hood MP (Chairman) - Labour - Clydesdale
Richard Bacon MP - Conservative - South Norfolk
Colin Breed MP - Lib Dem - Cornwall South East
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
David Heathcoat-Amory MP - Conservative - Wells
Mark Hendrick MP - Labour - Preston
Jim Marshall MP - Labour - Leicester South
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:                                                                          http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/european_scrutiny.cfm

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