Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Melanie Johnson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Competition Consumers and Markets, Department of Trade and Industry

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated 25 July 2002 covering the Commission's 2002 working paper on the competitiveness of European industry. This document was considered by Sub-Committee B at its meeting on 14 October 2002.

  As you are probably aware, the Scrutiny reserves on the report for 2001 (13489/01 SEC(01) 1705) and an accompanying document (13884/01 COM(2001) 641 final—Competitiveness and enterprise policy in the EU: Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled "Sustaining the Commitments, Increasing the Pace") have been held in the expectation that the Sub-Committee would conduct an inquiry into aspects of competitiveness and enterprise policy. The programme for the Sub-Committee did not allow this to happen before the summer Recess, and, in view of the forthcoming Commission Green Paper on Competitiveness and Enterprise Policy, there is no need to hold these documents under the Scrutiny reserve. The Scrutiny reserve is therefore lifted on the following documents: 13489/01 SEC(01) 1705; 13884/01 COM(2001) 641 final; and SEC(02) 528.

  However, the issue of competitiveness of European industry, particularly in the service sector, is an important one as you have pointed out in your EM. It is gratifying to see that the United Kingdom is one of the two exceptions to a decline in productivity in this area during the period 1995-99. We welcome the Government's continuing advocacy of full market liberalisation. We agree with the Commission that this is an important factor for improving competition.

21 October 2002

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