The following gave evidence to this inquiry:
The Corporation of London
Mr Stanley Crossick, European Policy Centre
Dr Adam Cygan
Mr Andrew Duff MEP
Mr Jimmy Hood MP, Chairman, House of Commons European Scrutiny
Lord Howell of Guildford
Lord Inglewood MEP
Ms Caroline Jackson MEP
Mr Claus Larsen-Jensen and Mr Peter Juul Larsen, European Affairs
Committee, Folketing, Denmark
Baroness Ludford MEP
Professor Neil MacCormick MEP
Lord Pearson of Rannoch
Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Baroness Williams of Crosby
Rt Hon. Lord Williams of Mostyn (Leader of the House) and Mr Michael
The following questions formed our "call for
1) What is the purpose of national parliamentary
scrutiny of EU legislation?
2) At what stage in the European policy-making and
legislation cycle is input from a national parliamentary scrutiny
committee such as ours most effective?
- Should we aim to comment on policy "upstream"
at an early stage of formulation (e.g. Green and White Papers)
or at a later stage when legislative texts are being negotiated?
- What are the complications where co-decision
and conciliation are involved?
3) Are we doing too little scrutiny of documents
or too much?
- Are any documents deposited that need not be?
- Is the sift process effective?
- Should we monitor more closely the application
of subsidiarity as part of our scrutiny work?
4) How effective is the current Scrutiny Reserve
- What are the arguments for and against a Scrutiny
Reserve which is more formally binding on the Government? Can
we learn any lessons from the Danish system of mandating and how
does this in practice operate?
- Are there any particular deficiencies in the
existing text? Is it robust enough to deal with the growing practice
of "provisional agreements" on which we have reported
5) Is sufficient time allowed for national parliamentary
- What practical steps can be taken to improve
the flow of information and documents?
- What can be done about those cases where insufficient
time is available? Should HMG conduct more systematic monitoring
of late deposit, and of scrutiny overrides?
- Are the Government's Explanatory Memoranda (EMs)
in the form required for effective scrutiny and what can be done
to ensure timely deposit of EMs?
Our Working Methods
6) Given the likely future priorities of the Union,
is the balance of work between the Sub-Committees right? In particular,
are any adjustments necessary following reforms agreed at Seville?
7) Do our Sub-Committees operate in the most effective
- Is the balance of effort spent on scrutiny of
"documents" and "other matters relating to the
European Union" appropriate?
- Is it appropriate that the same members conduct
both full inquiries and other scrutiny work, and if so how can
we best plan our work to give time for both activities?
- Given the other demands on members' time, do
we make best use of this valuable resource?
- Do the Sub-Committees get the right evidence
in inquiries and in particular do all the relevant parties have
the chance to contribute?
- Is appropriate specialist advice available?
8) Is there sufficient emphasis on follow-up of previous
work? In addition to the existing monitoring of Council activity,
do we need to devise any new procedures for scrutiny of the Council
of Ministers and in particular to match our timetable with that
of the Council? Will proposed changes in the parliamentary year
affect our scrutiny work?
9) In what areas can the Select Committee best add
value to the work of the Sub-Committees?
- How useful and effective are the sessions with
Ambassadors at the start of each Presidency and with the Minister
for Europe after each European Council?
- Do our reports on these sessions assist the House?
Co-operation with other Scrutineers
10) What are the opportunities for co-operation (including
joint evidence sessions) with the Commons in order to improve
scrutiny? How can we ensure that the two Houses effectively complement
each other and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort?
11) What can we learn from the work of other national
parliamentary scrutiny committees? What steps can be taken to
improve collective scrutiny by national parliaments?
12) How can we most effectively co-operate with MEPs?
Impact of our Work
13) What kind of output from our Committee has most
- What notice does the House take of our work?
In addition to the set-piece debates, what steps can be taken
to encourage Members of the House to "mainstream" our
work more into the House's broader consideration of EU matters
e.g. via Question Time?
- What are the arguments for and against long-running
inquiries leading to substantial reports; and shorter reports
more obviously focussed on a limited point or points of policy
in a particular area? How in practice can a short Report actually
- How effective is Correspondence with Ministers?
- How can we measure the impact of our work on
the Government, the Commission, the European Parliament and other
Member States' Governments and Parliaments?
Areas where additional scrutiny could
14) The Committee deals only exceptionally with legislation
made under the Comitology procedure. Should we do so more often
and if so what are the implications for our other work? If it
is not for us, who else should be doing this work and can we assist
15) Our scrutiny work also does not directly cover
the implementation of EU law. Should the Government's EMs make
their implementation strategy clear? Is scrutiny of implementation
work we should be undertaking (and if so what are the implications
for our other work?) If not, who should be doing it and how can
we assist them?