Select Committee on European Communities Seventeenth Report


20 July 1999

  By the Select Committee appointed to consider Community proposals, whether in draft or otherwise, to obtain all necessary information about them, and to make reports on those which, in the opinion of the Committee, raise important questions of policy or principle, and on other questions to which the Committee considers that the special attention of the House should be drawn.



  1.    As part of its work on Community proposals, the Select Committee sends letters to Ministers to express its views on proposals under scrutiny. The procedure of sending a letter may be adopted when the timetable of the Council of Ministers is too short for the Committee to make a report, or if the enquiry indicates that the points at issue do not warrant a full report. Such letters pass the same stages of approval as a report, and are normally signed by the Chairman. Occasionally the Chairman delegates authority to a Sub-Committee Chairman. Where the timing of discussions in the Council of Ministers does not permit consideration in advance by the Committee, the letter is sent on the authority of the Chairman and placed before the Committee at its next meeting.

  2.      The Committee therefore considers that the attention of the House should now be drawn to letters which it has sent since the last volume of correspondence was issued, together with replies received from Ministers. It includes letters sent by the Committee and replies received since January 1999.

  3.    This Report is in four parts. The first includes letters relating to the policy issues raised by proposals; the second includes letters relating to cases where the Committee has been unable to scrutinise documents effectively; the third includes letters relating to issues of legal and procedural interest; and the fourth includes correspondence relating to the Committee's reports and Government responses to them.

  4.    The two immediately previous volumes of Correspondence with Ministers were published as the 11th Report, 1997-98 (HL Paper 60) and the 4th Report, 1998-99 (HL Paper 24).

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