Lords EU Committee hears from Europe Minister

12 January 2010

The House of Lords European Union Select Committee takes evidence from Chris Bryant MP, Minister for Europe, on the December meeting of the European Council. Watch live from 4.10am.

The Lords EU Committee plays a key role in scrutinising EU legislation, and holds regular meetings with the UK’s Europe Minister to clarify the Government’s position on EU proposals and initiatives.

Topics to be covered in the evidence session include:

  • whether the UK is best served by having a British High Representative for Foreign Affairs or if the country’s interests would have been better protected by nominating a Commissioner for financial services instead
  • how the disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen climate change conference will impact on the EU’s climate change policies
  • what the Government would like to see included in the European Commission’s action plan for the Stockholm Programme for freedom, security and justice
  • what impact the enlargement agenda and the Eastern Partnership have had on EU/Russia relations

The European Union Committee of the House of Lords considers EU documents and other matters relating to the EU in advance of decisions being taken on them in Brussels. It does this in order to influence the Government's position in negotiations, and to hold them to account for their actions at EU level.

The Government are required to deposit EU documents in Parliament, and to produce within two weeks an Explanatory Memorandum setting out the implications for the UK. The Committee examines these documents, and 'holds under scrutiny' any about which it has concerns, entering into correspondence with the relevant Minister until satisfied. Letters must be answered within two weeks. Under the 'scrutiny reserve resolution', the Government may not agree in the EU Council of Ministers to any proposal still held under scrutiny; reasons must be given for any breach.

The Committee also conducts inquiries and makes reports. The Government are required to respond in writing to a report’s recommendations within two months of publication. If the report is for debate, then there is a debate in the House of Lords, which a Minister must attend and respond to.

Image: PA

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