European Scrutiny Committee Meeting: 15 January 2014

16 January 2014

The European Scrutiny met on Wednesday 15 January


The Committee took oral evidence this week for its inquiry into the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the UK. Further sessions will take place next week and on 29 January.

The Government Response (PDF 1MB) to the Committee’s Report on the UK’s block opt-out of pre-Lisbon criminal law and policing measures has now been published.

This week the Committee considered the following documents:

Banking Union: single resolution mechanism
This Draft Regulation and European Central Bank Opinion have been under scrutiny for some time and were last considered in December.  We said that given the continuing uncertainty over the likely final form of the SRM we were not prepared to clear the documents from scrutiny in advance of the ECOFIN Council on 18 December, but we granted a conditional waiver.  The Minister now writes to tell us about the general approach on the draft Regulation – on which the Government abstained – and related agreements reached at the ECOFIN Council, and elaborates on a number of points of particular interest to the UK.  The Minister concludes that the Government believes that the agreement on the SRM represents an important step in setting up a workable eurozone Banking Union, which it supports, and that the next step will be to ensure that the gains the Government has secured during the Council negotiation are protected during trilogues with the European Parliament.  The Committee asks for regular updates and is keeping the documents under scrutiny.

EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process
This Council Decision would end the mandate of the EUSR to the Middle East Peace Process.  It is the result of the decision taken by the Political and Security Committee in November 2013 to transfer these responsibilities to the European External Action Service (EEAS).  The Minister supports the proposal, judging that this will continue the UK objective of an effective and efficient EU contribution to the ongoing negotiations, which aim to achieve a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  We ask the Minister to comment on reports that this proposal was objected to by some Member States because it was seen as prejudging a general review underway of EUSR roles.  We also ask the Minister to write to us – before any decision is taken and no later than before the Easter recess- to outline what options regarding the EU’s engagement with the peace process are then under active consideration.


Other documents reported

We are also reporting on documents relating to:

  • BIS: Posting of Workers; Insolvency Proceedings;
  •  FCO: EU Cooperation with Egypt in the Field of Governance; EU support for policing in Afghanistan;
  • HM Treasury: Taxation;
  • Home Office: Extending participation in the European Asylum Support Office; Review of the implementation of the EU-US PNR Agreement;
  • Office for National Statistics: Statistics;
  • Work and Pensions: Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment.

The Committee’s Report will be published next week. The Committee’s Twenty-ninth Report will be published later on Friday 17 January, covering: Free movement of EU citizens; Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development; CSDP missions in Iraq and South Sudan; Reforming Europol; EU restrictive measures and Libya; the EU and the Central African Republic; Subsidiarity and proportionality; Financing EU external action; EU’s Comprehensive Approach to external conflict and crises; Customs: mutual assistance; Eurozone economic governance: draft budgetary plans; Eurozone economic governance: Economic Partnership Programmes; Relocation of the European Police College;: European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps; Financing EU external action; EU accession to the ECHR; Seafarers; European Globalisation Adjustment Fund; European aid to the most deprived; External coordination of social security systems.

Image: iStockphoto

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