Select Committee on European Union Fourteenth Report


39.  In the time available to us we have not had the opportunity to examine the issues in as much depth—or to take evidence from as wide a range of bodies—as we would have wished. We have not sought, therefore, to make firm recommendations but rather to draw some broad conclusions and identify some areas of concern, as a contribution to the continuing debate in and around the Convention. Our main conclusions are as follows:

·  Further consideration needs to be given to whether "equality" should be included as a value of the Union (paragraph 10).

·   If "full employment" is included as an objective, it will be important to establish a clear understanding of what it means (paragraphs 11).

·  There is little pressure in the United Kingdom for any general extension of the competence of the EU in the social policy area, but there is a case for extending it to public health, provided that such an extension is confined to issues that are genuinely cross-border and does not impinge on Member States' control over how their health services are run (paragraph 14).

·  There is a need to clarify (and simplify) the legal base of EU social policy, and in particular the extent to which different aspects of social policy are areas of shared competence (paragraph 15).

·  It is doubtful whether in a Union of 25 unanimity will offer a practicable means of agreeing measures in the social policy field (paragraph 20).

·  National parliaments should have an opportunity to scrutinise action taken under the Open Method of Co-ordination at an early stage in the process (paragraph 26).

·  There would be advantage in giving the Open Method of Co-ordination a Treaty base, provided that it does not reduce the present flexibility of its application (paragraph 27).

·  If the social partners and civil society are to be given a greater role in the decision-making of the Union, a number of important issues need to be clarified (paragraphs 28-29).

·  Any amendment of Article 16 EC relating to services of general interest would be fraught with difficulty (paragraphs 38-39).


40.  We make this report to the House for information.

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