GUIDELINES FOR MEMBER STATES' EMPLOYMENT
POLICIES FOR THE YEAR 2002
Amended draft Decision on guidelines for Member States' employment policies for the year 2002.
|Legal base:||Article 128(2) EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
|Document originated:||9 November 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||12 November 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||7 December 2001|
|Department:||Work and Pensions
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 18 December 2001|
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (22669) : HC 152-iii (2001-02), paragraph 15 (31 October 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||Not cleared; further information requested
3.1 We cleared an earlier version of the draft Employment
Guidelines in October.
They were agreed, along with the other components of the "Employment
Package" (the Joint Employment Report for 2001 and the Recommendations
on the implementation of Member States' employment policies),
at the Employment and Social Policy Council on 3 December, and
adopted at the Laeken European Council.
The amended proposal
3.2 The current document was produced by the Commission,
following consultation with the European Parliament (EP). In its
Explanatory Memorandum, the Commission states that it has included
a number of changes which reflect the EP's major concerns with
the draft guidelines. It proposes modifications to one of the
horizontal objectives and six of the guidelines.
The Government's view
3.3 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Department for Education and Employment (Mr Malcolm Wicks) expresses
no view of the document but tells us:
"The Commission's amended proposal was effectively overtaken
by events since agreement of the 2002 Guidelines was based on
the Commission's earlier proposal [(22669)]. It therefore has
no policy implications for the UK."
3.4 While we recognise that the document itself is
now obsolete, the Minister's Explanatory Memorandum gives rise
to some questions.
3.5 We ask firstly why the Explanatory Memorandum
was not provided before 18 December, given that the document was
forwarded to the Council on 12 November.
3.6 The latter date would seem to have allowed for
the Committee to have considered the amended proposal before the
Council meeting on 3 December.
3.7 We also ask for a fuller explanation of the Minister's
comment about the document being "effectively overtaken by
events". The implication appears to be that the Council took
no account of the consultation with the European Parliament in
coming to its agreement. We ask the Minister whether this was,
in fact, the case and, if so, whether it is a common practice.
3.8 We will not clear the document until we have his
-; see headnote to this paragraph.