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Embargo: Immediate Tuesday 30 October 2007
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

LORDS EU COMMITTEE INVITES PUBLIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO NEW INQUIRY ON EU REFORM TREATY

The House of Lords European Union Committee has today announced that it is undertaking an in-depth inquiry into the impact of the EU Reform Treaty on the EU and in particular the United Kingdom. The inquiry will be conducted by the EU Select Committee and all seven of its Sub-Committees, with each exploring the Reform Treaty's effects in their area of expertise. The EU Committee aims to provide a rigorous and detailed analysis of the changes made by the Treaty and how they would affect the EU and the UK, to inform Parliament's debates on its ratification.

Today, Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) published the Call for Evidence for its inquiry into the new arrangements for Freedom, Security and Justice (FSJ) which will be introduced by the Reform Treaty. This inquiry will form part of the wider examination of the Reform Treaty and provides an opportunity for interested parties to put their views on the impact of the Reform Treaty in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice directly to a Parliamentary Committee.

The new arrangements for FSJ are an area of particular significance in the Treaty, as they include several of Britain's 'red lines' which have been incorporated into the treaty negotiations, including the UK's right to choose whether to participate in measures in this field (the "opt-in"). The Committee is keen to receive a wide range of evidence from any interested parties.

Some of the key areas on which Sub-Committee E will be seeking comments include:

  • The move to qualified majority voting and co-decision in areas of criminal law and policing.

  • The emergency brake and flexibility procedures in criminal law and policing.

  • The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in relation to FSJ measures.

  • The application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights to FSJ measures.

  • The operation of the opt-ins in the area of FSJ.

Commenting, Lord Bowness, a member of Sub-Committee E, said:

"The inquiry by our Sub-Committee is just part of a wider detailed inquiry into the Reform Treaty as a whole. We aim to provide a detailed, comprehensive analysis of the important changes brought in by the Treaty and how they would affect Britain.

"Our final report, when published, will give Parliamentarians and others an in-depth assessment of what the Treaty would mean for us. A report setting out clearly the impact of the Reform Treaty will help to inform the debate on the Treaty, both in the House of Lords and elsewhere.

"We would welcome evidence on the important question of the impact of the Treaty on the area of Freedom, Security and Justice from any interested parties and will look to publish our report in time for the Lords debates on the Treaty which are scheduled to take place in the Spring."

Notes to Editors

  1. The full details of Sub-Committee E's inquiry including the full call for evidence can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_s_comm_e.cfm

  2. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 30 November 2007

  3. Sub-Committee E's inquiry forms part of a larger inquiry on the Reform Treaty by the House of Lords EU Select Committee. This will be undertaken by all seven of its Sub-Committees with each investigating its own area of expertise. Calls for Evidence from each of the other Sub-Committees, inviting comments on the aspects of the Reform Treaty which affect their areas of expertise, will be published in due course. Further details can be found in the EU Select Committee's second report on the Reform Treaty, "The EU Reform Treaty: work in progress". The Sub-Committees of the Lords EU Select Committee are:

  • Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs)

  • Sub-Committee B (Internal Market)

  • Sub-Committee C (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy)

  • Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture)

  • Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions)

  • Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs)

  • Sub Committee G (Social Policy and Consumer Affairs)

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