Select Committee on European Union Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Local Government International Bureau

  The Local Government International Bureau wishes to draw Members' attention to the report produced by the European Convention's working group on social Europe.

  In particular, we welcome the group's efforts to clarify the so-called open method of co-ordination by designating the actors and their respective roles. We are pleased to note the reference to Member State consultations with stakeholders including local and regional government (section IV, paragraph 11).

  However, we regret that this statement concentrates on consultation during the implementation phase. Whilst local authorities do have a considerable role to play in the implementation of social policy, we urge Members to also recognise the importance of consultation during the formulation of policy. This will ensure that EU policy recommendations are effective and practicable, and that any obstacles to efficient implementation can be identified at an early stage by those actually responsible at the point of delivery. For the same reason, these authorities should be involved in the evaluation process. We have every confidence that the pan-European representative associations of local government (eg CEMR/CCRE) can act as effective interlocutors in this consultative process as part of a systematic dialogue with the EU institutions.

  We hope that Members will be able to reflect on this point during discussions with Peter Hain MP on 12 March 2003.

Cllr Ken Bodfish

Chair, Local Government International Bureau

10 March 2003

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