European Scrutiny Committee

News Release, PN 5, Session 2006-07

9 February 2007


Article 4 of the Treaty of European Union defines the function of the European Council. It says that the European Council is 'to provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political guidelines thereof'. The Presidency Conclusions of the meetings of the European Council often go beyond the function defined in Article 4. They frequently comment at length on the details of specific policies; and sometimes they appear to revive issues which have been quashed by the Council of Ministers. The Committee considers it important to understand the purpose of the Conclusions, how they are formulated and how that process relates to the formulation of the Conclusions of the Council of Ministers. It has decided, therefore, to hold an inquiry.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

To inquire into the arrangements for the preparation, consideration and approval of the Conclusions of the European Council and the Council of Ministers.

The Committee would welcome submissions which address the following questions:

The part played, in the preparation, consideration and approval of the Conclusions,   by:

● the Commission

● the Presidency of the Council

● the Council Secretariat

● the European Parliament


● Ministers (for the Council of Ministers’ Conclusions)

● Foreign Ministers (for GAERC and European Council Conclusions)

●Heads of State and Government (for European Council Conclusions).

The intended purpose of the Conclusions.

The actual effect of the Conclusions.

The merits of the Conclusions system and the extent to which there are appropriate opportunities for democratic scrutiny of the Conclusion-making process.

Evidence should be sent to the Clerk of the Committee by Tuesday 17 April 2007.

Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Michael Connarty MP (Chairman), Labour, Richard Bacon MP, Conservative, David Borrow MP, Labour, William Cash MP, Conservative, James Clappison MP, Conservative, Katy Clark MP, Labour, Wayne David MP, Labour, Jim Dobbin MP, Labour/Co-op, Nia Griffith MP, Labour, David Hamilton MP, Labour, David Heathcoat-Amory MP, Conservative, Jimmy Hood MP, Labour , Lindsay Hoyle MP, Labour, Angus Robertson MP, SNP, Anthony Steen MP, Conservative, Richard Younger Ross MP, Lib Dem

Committee website:

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474)

Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format-not PDF format-and sent by e-mail  to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. The deadline is Tuesday 17 April 2007.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference and, if more than six pages long, the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail.

Detailed enquiries to Alistair Doherty, Clerk of the Committee on 020 7219 5467 or