Meeting Summary: 5 February 2014

06 February 2014

The European Scrutiny Committee met on Wednesday, 5 February 2014.


This week the Committee considered the following documents: 


Recommended for debate on a Reasoned Opinion: Animal cloning

We have kept these two Draft Directives under scrutiny since January awaiting further information from the Government.  The first Directive would prohibit the cloning of farmed animals, the second would prevent the marketing of food produced from animal clones within the EU (including third country imports).  In our January Report we raised a number of legal and subsidiarity concerns with the Government and, having received the replies, we propose that the House should adopt a Reasoned Opinion on the second draft Directive.  We also raise concerns on the proposed legal base of that Directive – Article 352 (the so-called “flexibility clause”) - and ask the Government a series of questions to be answered in time for the Reasoned Opinion debate.


Member States’ application of EU law in 2012

This Commission Report assesses how Member States complied with EU law in 2012.  At the end of 2012 the Commission had 61 open infringements proceedings against the UK, the eighth-highest number of ongoing cases amongst the EU-27.  The number of such cases has dropped from 76 in 2011.  The UK had 24 late transposition cases open at the end of 2012, the third highest in the EU-27.  The Minister states that the Government supports the Commission in its efforts to ensure the timely and consistent transposition of EU law across all Member States, but adds that it is important that the UK takes a robust approach to its implementation obligations to ensure that it does not impose unnecessary regulatory burdens by going beyond what EU law requires.  We support these comments, report on, and clear, the Report.


EU military operation in the Central African Republic

This Council Decision would authorise an EU military operation in the Central African Republic (CAR): appointing the Operation Commander; designating the EU HQ; and agreeing the draft reference amount for the budget, €39.6 million, of which the UK will pay €5.8 million.  The Minister says that the humanitarian and security situation in the CAR remains extremely concerning, and that the mission – EUFOR RCA – will provide temporary support, for a period of up to six months, to help achieve a secure environment around the capital city of Bangui, working with the African Union forces.  The Committee was given advance warning of this decision by the FCO as it is expected to be agreed at the 10 February Foreign Affairs Council, and we clear the Council Decision, asking the Minister, when he submits his next EM on the mission, to outline the situation on the ground then, and the potential impact on the mission’s operational effectiveness.

Other documents reported

We are also reporting on documents relating to:

  • Business, Innovation and Skills: EU Anti-Dumping Activities in 2012; Completing the single market for postal delivery; Damages in competition law;
  • Culture, Media and Sport: Telecoms single market;
  • Environment, Food and Rural affairs: Invasive alien species;
  • FCO: Comitology; Restrictive measures against Zimbabwe; working of the comitology committees in 2012;
  • HM Treasury: Project Bond Initiative; Financial services: Single Euro Payment Area;
  • Home Office: Task Force for the Mediterranean; Extending participation on the European Asylum Support Office; EU Readmission Agreement with Azerbaijan; Female genital mutilation;
    International Development: EU climate finance and external aid;
  • Justice: Service of Documents;
  • Transport: Urban mobility; Trans-European Transport Network.


The Committee’s main Report, the Thirty-fourth Report, will be published next week (Animal cloning, the Thirty-fifth Report, will be published separately on Friday 7 February).

The Committee’s Thirty-third Report will be published shortly, covering: Tobacco Products Directive; Clinical trials; EU enlargement strategy; Clean Air Programme, national emissions ceilings and atmospheric emissions from medium combustion plants; Establishing a Quality Framework for Traineeships; Space policy; Statute for a European Foundation; EU-Tunisia; European network of independent non-proliferation think tanks; EU and the Gulf of Guinea; EU regulation of novel foods; Financial services: payment services; Reforming Europol; Repeal of an EU funding instrument to enhance protection against terrorist and other security-related incidents; Financing EU external action; EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; Procedural safeguards for suspects and accused persons; European Small Claims Procedure.


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