Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Fourth Report


Proposed European Institute for Gender Equality

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.  This Report is based on a short Inquiry carried out by Sub-Committee G of the European Union Select Committee, which deals with Social Policy and Consumer Affairs,[1] into a Proposal by the European Commission to establish a European Institute for Gender Equality.

Why are we carrying out this Inquiry?

2.  We decided to hold this Inquiry because:

(a)  numerous European institutes have been set up in recent years at different centres across the EU. The performance of these institutes is variable and we wanted to be sure that any Proposal to set up yet another one was soundly-based; and,

(b)  we wanted to know what, in practical terms, the proposed Institute was supposed to do and whether it was necessary to set up a separate EU-funded Institute to do it.

3.  We also wanted to draw wider Parliamentary and public attention to the Proposal.

Background

4.  On 8 March 2005 the European Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation to establish a European Institute for Gender Equality[2]. This was sifted to Sub-Committee G for scrutiny on 5 April 2005 but could not be considered until Parliamentary business resumed after the General Election.

5.  We gave our initial reactions to the Department of Trade and Industry on 14 June 2005[3]. After considering letters from the Minister[4], we decided to invite her to give oral evidence to improve our understanding of the Government's position on the Proposal. We wrote accordingly to the Minister[5]. We also decided to invite the Equal Opportunities Commission to give views on the merits of the Proposal[6].

6.  After the Summer Recess, we considered the views of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)[7] and a further letter from the Minister[8], to which we duly replied[9].

7.  We took oral evidence from the EOC on 17 November 2005[10] and from the Government on 24 November 2005[11].

8.  We also took account of further correspondence with the Minister[12] and supplementary written evidence from the EOC dated 1 December 2005[13]. [14]

9.  Having reviewed the evidence, we decided that the Proposal was very closely related to a parallel proposal by the Commission to set up a European Fundamental Rights Agency, on which Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) has decided to carry out an Inquiry. We therefore decided to close our Inquiry and to produce this Report and await the result of that Inquiry.

10.  We make this Report for the information of the House.


1   Members of the Sub-Committee and their Declared Interests are shown at Appendix 1 Back

2   Commission document 7244/05 COM (2005) 81 final  Back

3   pp 24-25 Back

4   pp 25-27 Back

5   pp 27-29 Back

6   pp 33-34 Back

7   pp 1-4 Back

8   pp 29-30 Back

9   p 30  Back

10   pp 4-10 Back

11   pp 16-24 Back

12   p 31, pp 32-33 Back

13   pp 10-12 Back

14   pp 34-37 Back


 
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