Select Committee on European Union Thirty-First Report

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

1. The European Commission recently published a proposal to reform the system of "comitology" as an interim measure prior to a more fundamental revision in the new constitutional treaty which now seems certain to emerge from the forthcoming Inter-Governmental Conference. "Comitology" refers to the system of committees involved in the detailed implementation at European level of EU legislation. The Commission proposes an amendment to the Council Decision of 1999[1] which established the current comitology system.

2. The purpose of this Report[2] is fourfold:

  • As scrutiny of a major Commission proposal;
  • As part of the commitment made in the Committee's recent Review of Scrutiny Report[3] to scrutinise documents relating to important comitology decisions more closely;
  • As follow-up to the Committee's Report on comitology in 1999,[4] which was the product of a detailed inquiry into the comitology proposals which eventually became the 1999 Decision;[5] and
  • As scrutiny of the proposals for a new constitutional treaty from the Convention on the Future of Europe.

3. This Report is split into three sections. Firstly, we explain what comitology is, with a brief history and an outline of the current system. Next, we examine the current Commission proposal. Finally, we look at draft Article I-36 of the Convention's proposed constitutional treaty which deals with implementing powers.[6]

1   Dec. 99/468, [1999] OJ l184/23. Back

2   The scrutiny was conducted by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions). The membership of the Sub-Committee is set out in Appendix 1. Back

3   Review of Scrutiny of European Legislation (1st Report, Session 2002-03, HL Paper 15). Back

4   Delegation of Powers to the Commission: Reforming Comitology (3rd Report, Session 1998-99, HL Paper 23). Back

5   Greater follow-up of previous inquiries and Reports is another aim of the scrutiny review. Back

6   See CONV 724/1/03 REV 1, at pp 28-29. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003