European Union Proposals: Scrutiny Reserve

– in the House of Lords at 3:07 pm on 6th December 1999.

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Photo of Baroness Jay of Paddington Baroness Jay of Paddington President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal 3:07 pm, 6th December 1999

My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. It may be helpful to the House if I remind your Lordships that the Motion implements a recommendation of the Procedure Committee made in its 5th report of the last Session, to which the House agreed on 10th November.

Moved to resolve, That,

(1) No Minister of the Crown should give agreement in the Council to any proposal for European Community legislation or for a common strategy, joint action or common position under Title V or a common position, framework decision, decision or convention under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union--

(a) which is still subject to scrutiny (that is, on which the European Union Committee has not completed its scrutiny); and

(b) on which the European Union Committee has made a report to the House for debate, but on which the debate has not yet taken place.

(2) In this Resolution, any reference to agreement to a proposal includes--

(a) agreement to a programme, plan or recommendation for European Community legislation;

(b) political agreement;

(c) in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251 of the treaty establishing the European Community (co-decision), agreement to a common position, to an act in the form of a common position incorporating amendments proposed by the European Parliament, and to a joint text; and

(d) in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 252 of the treaty establishing the European Community (co-operation), agreement to a common position.

(3) The Minister concerned may, however, give agreement to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny or which is awaiting debate in the House--

(a) if he considers that it is confidential, routine or trivial or is substantially the same as a proposal on which scrutiny has been completed;

(b) if the European Union Committee has indicated that agreement need not be withheld pending completion of scrutiny or the holding of the debate.

(4) The Minister concerned may also give agreement to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny or awaiting debate in the House if he decides that for special reasons agreement should be given; but he should explain his reasons--

(a) in every such case, to the European Union Committee at the first opportunity after reaching his decision; and

(b) in the case of a proposal awaiting debate in the House, to the House at the opening of the debate on the Committee's report.

(5) In relation to any proposal which requires adoption by unanimity, abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph (4), be treated as giving agreement.--(Baroness Jay of Paddington.)

Photo of Lord Bruce of Donington Lord Bruce of Donington Labour

My Lords, I should like to be informed as to whether at this stage of our proceedings it is possible to express agreement with or dissent from the various Motions to be moved en bloc.

Noble Lords:

They have been moved already.

On Question, Motion agreed to.