Future inter-parliamentary scrutiny of EU foreign, defence and security policy - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

E-mail to the Chair of the Committee from Mr Robert Walter MP

As you know I never received an invitation to your meeting on 16 November. I was actually on my way back from Paris at the time where I had been dealing with some of the consequences of the closing of the WEU next year, but had I known about the meeting I would have been there.

I have been sent a copy of the minutes of your meeting with a request that I send any comments to you.

I have three specific observations on your discussion:

1.  There should be a small specialist secretariat who would monitor the activities of the relevant institutions, inform the agenda and advise members of the conference.

2.  The High Representative should be asked to publish an annual report of the activities of the Council in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy. This is already a provision for the European Parliament, and would follow from the existing annual report of the Council to the Assembly of the WEU.

3.  Whilst you suggest that there should be no committees, the conference should from time to time be able to set up ad hoc groups to study specific aspects of CFSP.

Additionally with regard to costs it is worth bearing in mind that the original Standing Conference model that was proposed by the WEU Assembly would have a total secretariat cost payable by national Parliaments of approximately €1 million, divided between the 27. This is less than the cost to national Parliaments of either the NATO Parliamentary Assembly or the OSCE Assembly, neither of which have a specific scrutiny role.

I hope this is helpful.

If you are in discussion with the Backbench Business Committee about a possible date for debate could I request that you avoid the week of 24 January when the entire Assembly delegation will be away in Strasbourg.

24 November 2010

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