Select Committee on European Communities Report


Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Dawn Primarolo MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

  Thank you very much for your Explanatory Memorandum on Document 12809/97 on a proposal for a Council decision authorising Denmark to apply differential rates of excise duty to petrol in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article 8(4) of Directive 92/81/EEC.

  I notice that the text of the Document became available on 2 December 1997 and I am therefore puzzled as to why the Explanatory Memorandum from your Department was not available until 29 January 1998.I would be most grateful if you could provide the Committee with an explanation of the delay.

5 February 1998

Letter from Dawn Primarolo MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter dated 5 February seeking an explanation for the delay in submitting an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) on this document.

  The reason for the delay is that the Council Secretariat in Brussels failed to send the document to the Cabinet Office, who consequently were unable to trigger scrutiny in the normal way. Subsequent enquiries of the Council Secretariat have failed to establish why this occurrred. My officials were surprised not to receive the usual commissioning letter from the Cabinet Office and raised the matter with them. They then obtained a copy of the document and provided it to the Cabinet Office who arranged for it to be deposited on 19 January. An EM was then commissioned in the normal way and submitted on 29 January.

  I hope this provides you with a clearer understanding of the handling of this document and the reason for the delay in deposit.

17 February 1998

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