Select Committee on European Scrutiny First Report


COM(01) 83

Draft Regulation on the establishment of a common classification of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS).

Legal base: Article 285 EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
Document originated: 14 February 2001
Forwarded to the Council: 15 February 2001
Deposited in Parliament: 9 March 2001
Department: HM Treasury
Basis of consideration: SEM of 9 May 2001
Previous Committee Report: HC 28-x (2000-01), paragraph 8 (28 March 2001)
To be discussed in Council: No date known
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared


37.1  NUTS (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) is a hierarchical classification of geographical areas within the EU for producing comparable regional statistics. The NUTS system uses criteria to subdivide each Member State into a series of areas to correspond with one of five NUTS levels. At the highest level is NUTS level 1, which broadly corresponds to standard regions in the UK. The most detailed level is NUTS level 5, which corresponds to individual wards. Other NUTS levels refer to groups of local authorities and individual counties. NUTS is the basis for EU regional statistics, but also has a wider importance because it is used when determining eligibility for Structural Funds and State Aid.

37.2  The previous Committee left the draft Regulation uncleared pending further information on the Government's view of the draft Regulation.

The Government's view

37.3  In her Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 9 May 2001, the previous Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Miss Melanie Johnson) sets out the Government's view:

    "The Government supports the principle of this Regulation, to define and establish clear rules for future amendment of the NUTS classification and specifically the fixing of the current geographical boundaries for a number of years. Some changes are required on points of detail, which have been raised at the Council Working Group. These are that the NUTS classification should provide a breakdown of the whole of the EU, not just the economic territory, which excludes Gibraltar; that no changes should be imposed by the Commission — they need to be agreed with Member States; and that the regulation should cover the existing 5 NUTS categories. The current draft fully covers 1 to 3 only, although some references are made to small administrative areas, such as wards in the UK, which are currently classified as NUTS level 5.

    "It is possible that significant changes may be proposed whilst the regulation is being considered by the European Parliament and the Council. The Government may wish to reconsider its view on supporting the regulation in the light of any such proposals, and the possible impact on the aims of the regulation."


37.4  The Government has now set out its position on this document and we are content to clear it.

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