Select Committee on European Communities Seventeenth Report


Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to the Rt Hon Ian McCartney MP, Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry

  This document was sifted for scrutiny to Sub-Committee F on 15 June, on the basis of an Explanatory Memorandum dated 11 June. This week we received an urgent request from your department to lift the scrutiny reserve. I have done this, and the document was cleared from scrutiny this Wednesday.

  I would be grateful, however, for an explanation of the delay in submitting an EM on this document. The document was dated 30 April , and it is regrettable than an EM was not submitted in time for proper scrutiny to take place.

  Your EM (paragraphs 17-20) also raised some UK concerns. I would be grateful to know what was the conclusion of the negotiations on these points.

25 June 1999

Letter from the Rt Hon Ian McCartney MP, Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry, to Lord Tordoff Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter of 25 June clearing this document from scrutiny. I am very grateful for the speed with which you were able to clear the document, and apologise for the late submission of the EM. Although the document was dated 30 April, the official text was not received by the Department until 10 May. It was necessary to consult in detail with colleagues in order to set out an agreed position in the EM. It did not prove possible to do this before the Whitsun recess. The presidency was eager to have the Directive agreed before the end of their term, and so pushed it forward much more quickly than we had expected. We were keen to be helpful to the Presidency as this measure was part of a package of measures which represented a favourable outcome for the UK.

  You asked what the results of negotiations were on the issues raised in paragraphs 17-20 of the EM. The remaining issue outstanding was that of pay. As paragraph 20 anticipated, no other memeber state supported in the Council our view that the Directive does not affect pay. We therefore, made a unilateral minutes statement to this effect, as was done with the Part-Time Directive. Whether pay is covered when the UK implements the Directive will be a matter for consultation: the Government has not yet formed a view.

  The directive was adopted without further discussion on 28 June. I will forward you the final text as soon as I have received it. I will also send you details of the minutes statements made by the UK and others (including on pay and coverage of the armed forces). The amendments which were made to the original text did not go beyond those set out in paragraph 17 of the EM, and the text of the framework agreement, which contains the meat of the proposal, was, unchanged.

13 July 1999

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