Documents considered by the Committee on 2 May 2018 Contents

Meeting Summary

The Committee looks at the significance of EU proposals and decides whether to clear the document from scrutiny or withhold clearance and ask questions of the Government. The Committee also has the power to recommend documents for debate.

Brexit-related issues

The Committee is now looking at documents in the light of the UK decision to withdraw from the EU. Issues are explored in greater detail in report chapters and, where appropriate, in the summaries below. The Committee notes that in the current week the following issues and questions have arisen in documents or in correspondence with Ministers:

Given the uncertainty as to the UK’s future immigration policy on EU citizens, as well as the likelihood that it will affect EU policy towards UK citizens who wish to travel to the EU after any transitional/implementation period, we cannot exclude the possibility that UK citizens may, in the future, require a visa to travel to the EU. Any changes to EU visa policy may therefore have direct implications for UK citizens.

We ask the Government what assessment it has made of the costs and benefits of a reciprocal visa regime for UK travellers to the EU and EU travellers to the UK post-exit, particularly in terms of the impact on tourism and trade.

As the Government does not intend to publish its Immigration White Paper until the end of the year, we seek an assurance that it will inform Parliament promptly of any options put forward in the future partnership negotiations with the EU which may affect the immigration status of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU27.

Summary

Multi-annual plan for fishing in the Western Waters

The Commission has proposed a framework for management of fisheries in the Western Waters (including all seas around the UK except the North Sea). The Committee notes that this would apply during the post-Brexit implementation period and asks the Government if it will press for swift adoption while the UK retains voting rights. The Committee also asks if the Government will pro-actively engage with other Member States informally on the adoption of detailed rules to be applied during 2020. These could otherwise be devised during the period April-July 2019 without significant UK involvement but applying to UK waters. Finally, the Committee notes that the model established under this proposal could—if aligned with the North Sea Plan—form the basis for the the future EU-UK fisheries relationship.

Not cleared; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Military mobility

The Committee has considered a new European Commission ‘action plan’ on military mobility. This document provides more detail about possible EU policy initiatives to facilitate the movement of troops and military equipment, although it makes no concrete policy commitments while further analytical work is underway. In the next few years, it may lead to new EU legislation to remove customs and regulatory hurdles to military mobility, as well as the provision of EU funding for dual-use transport infrastructure.

Cleared from scrutiny; drawn to the attention of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees

Reform of the electoral law of the EU

Before the Referendum, the previous Committee recommended a Reasoned Opinion in 2016 on this proposal initiated by the EP to reform aspects of the law governing EP elections. As the UK will not now be participating in EP elections, the proposal will have no practical impact on the UK.

The proposal can only be adopted by unanimity, after the EP’s consent has been obtained and Member States have approved it according to their own constitutional requirements. For the UK, that means an Act of Parliament must be passed in accordance with Section 7(2)(b) of the EU Act 2011(the 2011 Act) to enable the UK to approve final adoption of the proposal.

The Government wrote in haste during the Easter recess to notify the Committee that the UK wished to vote in support of a modified proposal at a Council meeting of 17 April. It is our understanding that this would be in relation to a decision to send the proposal to the EP for its consent. But the Government reports in a second letter that no agreement was reached at that meeting and the Council may try to agree the proposal quickly by way of Council written procedure before the end of the month (though the latest informal information from officials received on 2 May is that agreement has still not been reached). The Government therefore asks for clearance or a scrutiny waiver.

The Committee recognises that although the Government has not updated the Committee frequently, it has made a genuine effort to do so fully now. Given this and Brexit, the Committee now clears the proposal. It asks for updates on the remaining stages of the process towards final adoption of this proposal and for the Government to be more careful to identify the application of the 2011 Act in future.

Cleared from scrutiny; further information requested.

Application of new EU waste rules during implementation period

The Minister has confirmed the UK’s support for the compromise deal reached on the revision to EU waste policy, including ambitious new recycling targets, and has also confirmed that the UK will transpose this legislation into UK law. The transposition deadline will be mid-2020, and so will fall within the post-Brexit implementation period. The Committee looks forward to seeing the Government’s transposition plans in the context of the wider Resources and Waste Strategy later this year.

Cleared from scrutiny (by Resolution of the House on 08/03/2016); drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environmental Audit, the Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Welsh Affairs, the Scottish Affairs and the Northern Irish Affairs Committees

Persistent Organic Pollutants

The Commission’s proposal seeks only to recast existing legislation, the role of which is to implement international obligations. The Committee considered the most interesting aspect to be the proposal to extend the remit of the European Chemicals Agency to include this legislation, an extension supported by the Government. This is relevant in the context of the Prime Minister’s proposal that the UK seek associate membership of the Agency post-Brexit. The Committee asks the Government to what extent the uncertainty over UK associate membership of the Agency will impact on the UK’s input into negotiation of this proposal.

Not cleared; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environmental Audit Committee

Adapting EU visa policy to new migration and security challenges

The Commission has proposed an overhaul of EU visa policy to reflect the new migration and security challenges confronting the EU. The Government says that the changes will have “no direct impact” on the UK as they concern parts of the Schengen rule book which do not apply to the UK. The Committee accepts that there will be no implications while the UK remains a member of the EU but says that this may not be the case once the UK leaves the EU (and any transitional/implementation period extending the application of EU free movement rules has expired). EU visa policy operates on the basis of reciprocity, meaning that if the UK were to introduce a requirement for the nationals of one or more EU Member States to obtain a visa to visit the UK post-exit, the EU would likely reciprocate by imposing a visa requirement on UK nationals travelling to the EU. As the Government does not intend to publish its Immigration White Paper setting out future arrangements for immigration to the UK post-exit until the end of the year, the Committee cannot exclude the possibility that UK citizens may, in the future, require a visa to travel to the EU. It asks the Government what assessment it has made of the costs and benefits of a reciprocal visa regime for UK travellers to the EU and EU travellers to the UK post-exit. It also seeks an assurance that Parliament will be promptly informed of any options put forward by the Government in the future partnership negotiations which may affect the immigration status of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU27.

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Home Affairs Committee and the Committee on Exiting the European Union.

Documents drawn to the attention of select committees:

(‘NC’ indicates document is ‘not cleared’ from scrutiny; ‘C’ indicates document is ‘cleared’)

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee: Non-performing loans: debt management and out-of-court collateral recovery [(a) Proposed Directive (NC), (b) Proposed Regulation (NC), (c) Report (C)]

Defence Committee: Military Mobility in the EU [Communication (C)]

Exiting the European Union Committee: Adapting EU visa policy to new migration and security challenges [(a) Communication (C), (b) Proposed Regulation (NC)]

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: EU legislation on waste [Proposed Directives (C)]; Fisheries Agreement with Morocco [Proposed Decision (C)]; Multi Annual Plan for fishing in Western Waters [Proposed Regulation (NC)]

Environmental Audit Committee: EU legislation on waste [Proposed Directives (C)]; Persistent Organic Pollutants [Proposed Regulation (NC)]

Foreign Affairs Committee: Fisheries Agreement with Morocco [Proposed Decision (C)]; Military Mobility in the EU [Communication (C)]

Home Affairs Committee: Adapting EU visa policy to new migration and security challenges [(a) Communication (C), (b) Proposed Regulation (NC)]

Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee: EU legislation on waste [Proposed Directives (C)]

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: EU legislation on waste [Proposed Directives (C)]

Scottish Affairs Committee: EU legislation on waste [Proposed Directives (C)]

Treasury Committee: Asset management: cross-border distribution of funds within the Single Market [(a) Proposed Directive (NC), (b) Proposed Regulation (NC)]; Non-performing loans: debt management and out-of-court collateral recovery [(a) Proposed Directive (NC), (b) Proposed Regulation (NC), (c) Report (C)]; Financial Services: long-term EU regulatory plans [Communications (C)]

Welsh Affairs Committee: EU legislation on waste [Proposed Directives (C)]





Published: 8 May 2018