Select Committee on European Union Thirteenth Report


Memorandum by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  The Government welcomes the Committee's report on the European Court of Justice's proposal for enlarging the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance.

  We are pleased that the Committee shares the Government's support for the proposal and its view that the scope of the Court's proposal is appropriate. The Government notes the Committee's view that further consideration should be given to expanding the proposal to include actions for failure to act brought by Member States. The Government will bear this in mind in any future discussion of this proposal.

  The Government notes the Committee's concern about the increasing workload of the Courts, and its welcome for the Court's recent discussion paper on its future. The Government shares this concern and confirms its desire to see a strong and effective Court. The Government generally supports the Court's proposed amendments to its Rules of Procedure, which are designed to enhance the efficiency of the Courts. The Government also supports the Court's proposal to increase the number of judges of the Court of First Instance to 21.

  The Committee raised the question of the possible inclusion of reform of the Courts in the forthcoming Inter Governmental Conference (IGC). The precise remit for the IGC has not yet been agreed, but the Government is open to consideration of Treaty changes which would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Courts.

7 October 1999

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