European Communities (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 20th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord Bowness Lord Bowness Conservative 6:15 pm, 20th November 2001

I am grateful to my noble friend for giving way. I should explain that in the United Kingdom legislation that implemented Maastricht, we specified that members of the Committee of the Regions should hold a locally elected mandate. That was not the case for all member states. There were instances of people who had lost their local mandate but did not resign. To some extent that went to the heart of the Committee of the Regions which, far from being representative of Brussels, was representative of local and regional authorities from the different member states.

The latter part of the phraseology is to take account of the Dutch and Belgian position and allow their burgomasters, who are appointed by the Crown and the governors of provinces, to serve, because they are accountable to their local authorities—to use our phraseology—although they are not directly elected by them. It is a guarantee of local democracy and local accountability working in the Committee of the Regions