To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the mandate of the Committee on the transfer of ships from one register to another within the Community is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement.
The committee dealing with the transfer of ships from one register to another within the Community is established under the provisions of Article 6 of Council Regulation (EEC) 613/91. The committee is composed of representatives of member states and is chaired by the European Commission. The remit of the committee is to assist the Commission in implementing and interpreting the regulation with a view to achieving the objective of facilitating the transfer of ships within the Community while ensuring that standards of maritime safety and environmental protection are not reduced. The committee has not met in the last 12 months. The UK is represented by officials from my Department and the annual cost of its work to public funds is currently nil. There are no items currently under the committee's consideration.
Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to
"simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".
As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on