Documents Considered by the Committee on 22 October 2014 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents


Meeting Summary



The Committee considered the following documents:

EU support for rehabilitation following the earthquake in Haiti

This week we consider the European Court of Auditors' Special Report on EU support for rehabilitation in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. The report concludes that the EU support was well designed overall and had met Haiti's most important needs. However it also finds that the programmes were not implemented effectively enough and the link between relief, rehabilitation and development was insufficient. The report makes a number of recommendations to the Commission regarding what it can do to improve the effectiveness of its post-disaster operations. The Commission accepts these recommendations, and this is welcomed by the Government. The Minister (Lynne Featherstone) emphasises that disaster resilience is key to bridging humanitarian and developmental effort, and explains that she and her team "will continue to emphasise the need to bridge humanitarian and development effort, including through our role as co-chair of the Political Champions Group as an advocate of disaster resilience". We ask the Minister for further information about this Group, and request an update on the implementation of the Commission's Action Plan for Resilience in Crisis Prone Countries 2013-2020.

Integrated Border Management Assistance Mission in Libya

The EU Integrated Border Management Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya) was established in May 2013, with a two-year mandate. The aim of the Mission is to support the Libyan authorities in developing capacity for enhancing the security of their borders in the short term and a broader Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy in the longer term. The Minister wrote to us in August explaining that, due to the deterioration of the situation in Libya, staff from the mission had been withdrawn and re-located to Tunis and Brussels. This week we report a letter from the Minister which explains that there will be a second Review of the Mission. We comment that although we of course hope that the situation in Libya improves, it is hard to see it doing so before the end of the year. We therefore consider it appropriate that all of the options are on the table, including closure of the Mission, especially given the EU's experience with EUBAM Rafah, a similar operation on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which has been on stand-by since 2007 due to the security situation. We request to receive an update no later than 11 December.

Network Information Security across the EU

This draft Council Directive seeks to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the EU, and we have retained it under scrutiny since May 2013. A position has now been adopted on its legal base (which was the UK's preferred position) but there remains two issues on which agreement has not been reached: scope and operational co-operation. We understand that the next Working Group is due to take place on 30 October, and that the Presidency intends for a text to be agreed at this meeting. This text would then be adopted at COREPER and be taken forward for consideration in the European Parliament. We understand that this process would begin prior to the endorsement by the November Telecoms Council. We make clear that we expect a revised text to be submitted as soon as possible for prior scrutiny, and in any event before it is agreed at COREPER.

Handbook on marriages of convenience

This week we also consider a Commission Communication which summaries the content of an EU handbook on marriages of convenience, which is intended to assist Member States in identifying these marriages. The Government says that the handbook will be helpful in raising awareness and supporting Member States in the identification and prevention of marriages of convenience, and that it promotes operational cooperation between Member States to tackle this issue. We clear the document from scrutiny, but highlight that it is relevant to the debate that we recommended in January 2014 on the wider-ranging Commission Communication on the free movement of EU citizens. We point out that this debate has not yet been scheduled, despite the fact that we recommended it nine months ago. We expect the Government to schedule a date for the debate forthwith, or to write to us setting out the reasons for the delay.


 
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