The EU Bill: Restrictions on Treaties and Decisions relating to the EU - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

Written evidence the European and External Relations Committee, Scottish Parliament

1.  At its meeting on 7 December, the European and External Relations Committee considered a paper on the European Union Bill and undertook to contact the European Scrutiny Committee, given its current inquiry into the Bill.

2.  We appreciate that the Bill covers reserved matters and that you have already reported on Part 3. Nevertheless we would like to draw to the Committee's attention one or two implications as regards devolved matters in Part 1 of the Bill.

3.  The Bill makes provision for referenda in the event of proposed amendments to TEU or TFEU which seek to transfer power or competence from the UK to the European Union. Given the nature of devolution, these powers could be ones that have been devolved under the Scotland Act. In this context it is conceivable that the impact of the transfer of powers might be significantly different in Scotland (or other devolved areas) to the UK as a whole.

4.  This in turn has a number of potential implications:

  • Should the Minister responsible be obliged to take representations from devolved Parliaments/Governments prior to producing the statement to be laid before Parliament?
  • Should the Minister be obliged to reflect in the statement any devolved matters raised?
  • Should any centrally-produced material for the referendum include information concerning the differential impact on Scotland (or other devolved areas) where relevant?
  • Will the referendum results information be broken down at sub-state level?

5.  There may of course be other implications for the Bill of which we are unaware.

6.  We would invite the Committee to consider these issues within its overall consideration of the Bill.

9 December 2010

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