European Scrutiny Committee

No. 16
(Session 2003-04)



On 22 July the European Scrutiny Committee will publish a report on The EU's Justice and Home Affairs work programme for the next five years (HC 42-xxviii, 2003-04).   

The report looks at the Commission's proposals relating to visas, asylum and immigration; civil and criminal justice; and police and customs cooperation.  Many of the proposals relate to matters which are at the core of national sovereignty and also directly affect the lives of individual citizens.

The Committee recognises the potential benefits of further operational cooperation and exchange of information, but believes that inadequate justification has been given for some of the proposals, including:

  • further harmonisation of asylum policy;

  • the proposed European Corps of Border Guards;

  • the proposed European Public Prosecutor;

  • giving investigative powers to Europol; and

  • measures on criminal justice going beyond what is necessary for mutual recognition.

The Committee recommends that the Communication be debated on the floor of the House.

For further information telephone 020 7219 5467/6481/3292.

22 July 2004

Notes for Editors

In 1999 the European Council approved a programme of action for creating an "area of freedom, security and justice", covering civil and criminal justice, visas, asylum and immigration, and police and customs cooperation.  The Commission's Communication, on which the Committee reports, assesses progress in the first five years and sets out priorities for the next five.   

The main purpose of the European Scrutiny Committee is to report to the House on the legal and political importance of each EU document and to determine which EU documents are debated. Such debates take place either in a European Standing Committee or on the Floor of the House. The Committee normally reports weekly on a range of documents when the House is sitting.  The Committee also monitors business in the Council of Ministers, especially the activities of UK Ministers in the Council, and produces occasional reports on wider EU developments.

The Committee has 14 Members at present, as follows:

Jimmy Hood MP (Chairman) - Labour - Clydesdale
Richard Bacon MP - Conservative - South Norfolk
William Cash MP - Conservative - Stone
Michael Connarty MP - Labour - Falkirk East
Wayne David MP - Labour - Caerphilly
Jim Dobbin MP - Labour/Co-op - Heywood & Middleton
Nick Harvey MP - Lib Dem - North Devon
David Heathcoat-Amory MP - Conservative - Wells
Sandra Osborne MP - Labour - Ayr
Anne Picking MP - Labour - East Lothian
Angus Robertson MP - SNP - Moray
John Robertson MP - Labour - Glasgow Anniesland
Anthony Steen MP - Conservative - Totnes
Bill Tynan MP - Labour - Hamilton South

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