Committee Work Round Up December 2011 - February 2012

09 February 2012


The House of Lords Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment continues its inquiry into EU freshwater policy. The inquiry aims to examine the goals and objectives of future EU freshwater policy in the context of the European Commission’s investigation into current policy and water sustainability, which will culminate in the publication of Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water toward the end of 2012.

The Sub-Committee has recently heard evidence from representatives of the Consumer Council for Water and Ofwat, the economic regulator; and Frédéric de Hemptinne of the Sustainable Synergies Group. Upcoming witnesses will include representatives of the Environment Agency and of the European Commission.

Other recent evidence sessions include the Sub-Committee on Home Affairs’ session with Lord Ramsbotham, former Chief Inspector of Prisons, regarding the European drugs strategy; and the Sub-Committee on the Internal Market, Energy and Transport quizzing Government officials from the Treasury, Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the Department for Transport regarding the Connecting Europe agenda as part of the Select Committee’s inquiry into the EU financial framework. Evidence taken at all public sessions is made available online via transcripts and videos.

The Select Committee has finished its inquiry into the euro area crisis, and its report will be published at 00:01 on Tuesday 14 February. The report draws together the work of the Sub-Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, and International Trade with the Select Committee’s recent evidence sessions. It looks at the events leading up to the 9 December 2011 Council and subsequent negotiations on the proposed ‘fiscal compact’.

At the end of January, the Select Committee Chairman attended the regular ‘ECUK’ meeting with counterparts from the House of Commons, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly, which took place in Edinburgh. Topics on the agenda included the euro area crisis, the EU’s financial framework, and the principle of subsidiarity.

The Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy has held an informal briefing with Jonathan Scheele, the Head of Representation from the European Commission, and Nick Westcott, Director for Africa in the EU’s External Action Service regarding a number of subjects that have concerned the Sub-Committee during recent scrutiny. The Sub-Committee on Social Policies and Consumer Protection will be holding an informal stakeholder event on 16 February.

The Select Committee has updated its subsidiarity scrutiny record (PDF PDF 80 KB) to include the House of Lords’ Reasoned Opinion and a short list of possible areas where subsidiarity concerns may arise during 2012

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