Select Committee on European Union Thirty-Sixth Report

Chapter 2: The Committee's work in the Parliamentary Session 2006-2007

Inquiries and Reports

6.  Between October 2006 and October 2007, the Committee published a total of 47 Reports, the majority based on inquiries by our Sub-Committees, including 28 comprehensive evidence-based Reports on new subjects of inquiry.


7.  During 2006, the Select Committee conducted a major inquiry into the enlargement of the EU; the Report was published in November.[5] In the course of the inquiry, oral evidence was taken from, among others: Commissioner Olli Rehn; the Croatian Ambassador; the Turkish Ambassador; Mr Valéry Giscard d'Estaing; Mr Édouard Balladur; Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon; the German Chancellery and German politicians; Members of the European Parliament; the European Policy Centre; the Centre for European Reform; the Centre for European Policy Studies; the College of Europe; the European Institute; the French Institute for International Relations; academics and commentators.

8.  The Committee concluded that on balance, the European Union had coped well with its growing membership. In the Report, the Committee evaluated the impact of previous enlargements; looked at attitudes towards further enlargement; considered the concept of 'absorption capacity' and the debate concerning the borders of Europe; took a detailed look at candidates and potential candidates for membership and considered possible alternatives to enlargement and the probable costs of not enlarging.

9.  The Committee concluded that, contrary to public perceptions, the last round of enlargement had not led to institutional gridlock and the economic impact of enlargement on new and existing Member States had been positive. The Committee considered the debate about absorption capacity to be harmful. The Committee also felt that it would be politically undesirable for the EU to attempt to define its final boundaries or to impose an artificial 'pause' on enlargement. The Committee thought that the increasing use of 'variable geometry' and enhanced co-operation in a further enlarged Union was both inevitable and desirable.

10.  The Committee concluded that a larger EU would need institutional change and more efficient decision-making procedures. Importantly, it would also require a rebalancing of the respective representation of large and small Member States. The Committee urged Member States to keep their commitment to offer full membership to both Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans if and when they were ready to assume the obligations of membership. The Committee also recommended that the EU should develop an attractive and strengthened neighbourhood policy for those countries that do not have the immediate, or in some cases, even longer term prospect of full membership.


11.  This follow-up Report[6] published the Government's Response to the Select Committee's inquiry, along with oral evidence given to the Committee by the Croatian Ambassador about enlargement and the accession of Croatia to the EU.


12.  Each year, the Commission publishes its Annual Legislative and Work Programme (ALWP) outlining its proposals for the year ahead. This Report[7] represented an expansion of the Select Committee's previous scrutiny of the Commission's Annual Legislative and Work Programmes; for this inquiry, the Select Committee called for written evidence and held deliberations both in the Committee itself and in the seven policy-based Sub-Committees. The scrutiny of the ALWP provides a useful planning tool for the Sub-Committees, and also resulted in the 'flagging up' of a number of proposals which would possibly require attention with regard to subsidiarity or proportionality concerns. The Committee also concluded that the section of proposals relating to Better Regulation was encouraging.


13.  For the first time this year, the Select Committee conducted a full inquiry into the Commission's Annual Policy Strategy (APS), which is the precursor to and consultation document for the Commission's ALWP.[8] The Select Committee looked at the Commission's APS for 2008, and heard evidence from MEPs; Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström; Mr Klaus Welle, Head of Cabinet to the President of the European Parliament; and the Minister for Europe.

14.  The Committee welcomed the Commission's improvements to its Annual Policy Strategy documents, but concluded that there were flaws in the APS which prevented it from being as useful a tool as it could be. The Committee considered that the APS needed to be clearer about its purpose, and that the Commission should provide more background to its proposals, and explain the status of each of the proposals or priorities listed. The APS needed, above all, to be more strategic. The Committee felt it should explain which policy areas had moved up the Commission's agenda, and which had moved down. The Report also criticised the clarity of the structure of the APS.

15.  The Committee had concerns about the way in which the APS was constructed in the Commission and scrutinised in the European Parliament: the APS should provoke a political dialogue about the 'bigger picture' regarding the EU's key priorities. The Commission should include more explanation and justification of its priorities and proposals, and should explain the financial constraints around the APS, while the relationship of the APS to the budgetary procedure should be made clear. Political priorities needed to be matched in budgetary terms, and the Committee recommended that the Commission, Council and European Parliament should forge a closer link between the budgetary and legislative processes. The Report also presented specific points regarding particular proposals in the APS for 2008.


16.  This Report printed the evidence heard by the Select Committee on the European Council of December 2006.[9] The discussion covered topics including the Constitutional Treaty and Commission reform, the Berlin Declaration, EU enlargement, the financing of the EU and energy supply.


17.  It is the custom of the Select Committee to hear evidence from the Ambassador of each Member State assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. During the past year, the Select Committee has taken evidence on the priorities of the German and Portuguese Presidencies from the German and Portuguese Ambassadors respectively, and this evidence was published in these two Reports.[10]


18.  The Select Committee met with the Minister for Europe to discuss the outcomes of the European Council of June 2007 and the forthcoming Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) on treaty reform. Topics discussed included the IGC mandate, the British opt-ins, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the role for national parliaments in the Reform Treaty.

19.  Following the evidence session, the Chairman wrote to the Minister (17 July 2007) giving views on what had been discussed and posing further questions about the mandate and IGC. That letter, along with a letter from the Minister supplementing his evidence, was also published in this first Report on the Reform Treaty.[11]


20.  Our second Report on the Reform Treaty published the Minister's reply to the Chairman's letter of 17 July, along with oral evidence on the Inter-Governmental Conference and Reform Treaty provided by Mr Kim Darroch, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the EU; Mr Christian Leffler, Head of Cabinet to Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström; Mr Michel Petite, Director-General of the Legal Service of the European Commission; and Mr Andrew Duff MEP, one of the European Parliament's three representatives at the IGC. The Report also presented some analysis of the changes made by the Reform Treaty to the roles of national parliaments, and outlined the Committee's plan for further scrutiny of the Treaty (para 108).[12]


21.  The Select Committee continues to publish regularly compilations of the Committee's letters to and replies from Government Ministers relating to matters held under scrutiny, and of the Government's formal written responses to the Committee's Reports.[13]


22.  Our Sub-Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, and International Trade (Sub-Committee A) conducted an inquiry into European financial management and the audit of European expenditure, which was published in November 2006.[14] Witnesses included Ivan Lewis MP, then Economic Secretary to HM Treasury; Sir John Bourn, the Head of the National Audit Office; Commissioner Kallas; and Rt Hon the Lord Kinnock. Press coverage focused on Ed Balls MP's decision (as Ivan Lewis' successor) to introduce a UK Statement of Assurance in the days after the publication of the Report. HM Treasury circulated the Report to colleagues in Finance Ministries across the EU. The Court of Auditors sent a detailed response and the Report was exceptionally well received in Brussels, where contacts inside and outside the Commission confirmed it was being taken very seriously.


23.  The Committee's Report on Financial Management and Fraud attracted considerable attention in the European Parliament, and one MEP subsequently tabled an oral question to the Council which took up the Committee's recommendation that the Budget Council should prepare a report on the annual audit and Statement of Assurance from the Court of Auditors. The Report was also debated on the floor of the House and referred to in a Written Statement by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. This follow-up Report explained these developments and published responses from the Government, the European Court of Auditors and the European Commission.[15]


24.  This inquiry concentrated on missing trader intra-Community VAT fraud, which is committed when traders take advantage of the 0% rating on intra-Community trade and then disappear after selling goods on, without passing their VAT income on to HM Revenue and Customs. Key witnesses seen by Sub-Committee A included Dawn Primarolo MP, then Paymaster General; the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; Commissioner Kovács; Sharon Bowles MEP; and representatives of trade. The Report, which concluded that existing measures to tackle missing trader fraud did not prevent its occurrence and were unsustainable, and called for Government action, attracted significant press attention.[16]


25.  Member States have agreed to review the funding of the European Union in 2008-9, and Sub-Committee A conducted an inquiry into the revenue side of the EU's budget. The Sub-Committee took evidence from the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury; Alain Lamassoure MEP; and officials from the Commission's Directorate-General for Budget, among others. The Sub-Committee concluded that the current funding sources were complex and lacking in transparency, and that the Gross National Income-based revenue source was the best means of providing the bulk of the budget's funding, while the elimination of the VAT-based resource would be no great loss. The Sub-Committee also considered that reform of the expenditure side of the budget should in logic precede any discussion of the UK abatement. The Report was published in March 2007.[17]


26.  Aided by oral evidence from the Economic Secretary to HM Treasury, Kitty Ussher MP, Sub-Committee A also examined the Commission's proposals for the 2008 General Budget for the European Communities. The Report summarised the significant proposed changes to funding, made recommendations regarding budgetary examination, looked forward to the 2008-9 review of the budget, and scrutinised the funding mechanisms for the Galileo global satellite navigation system and the European Institute of Technology.[18]


27.  Our Internal Market Sub-Committee (Sub-Committee B) undertook an inquiry into the Commission's proposal for an 'Audiovisual Media Services Directive'. The proposal triggered much concern in the UK over the suitability of extending the scope of broadcast regulation to a host of new media services which were rapidly developing and playing an increasingly large role in the UK's economy. The report asked what benefits and disadvantages might result from this approach, as well as considering issues such as product placement and the protection of minors.[19]

28.  The Sub-Committee heard evidence from the Commission; Shaun Woodward MP, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Ofcom; the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5; the European Digital Media Association; and the European Consumers' Organisation. The Report attracted substantial media coverage, and the Minister informed the Sub-Committee that the emerging conclusions, which had been published and sent to the Commission, were instrumental in securing several improvements to the text of the Directive.


29.  This inquiry focused on the Commission's proposal for a Regulation introducing price caps on both wholesale and retail charges for mobile phone roaming services. The issue had been one of considerable public interest, and the introduction of price caps was an unusual step for the Commission to take. Sub-Committee B sought to influence the debate in both the Telecoms Council and the European Parliament well before the draft Regulation would be agreed in June 2007.

30.  The Sub-Committee concluded that the Regulation was not based on adequate data on the true costs of providing roaming services. Nevertheless, from the witnesses (who included the Commission, Ofcom, the European Parliament's 'rapporteur' on the Regulation, the European Consumers' Organisation, mobile service providers and the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions) there appeared to be an overwhelming level of circumstantial evidence suggesting market failure. The Report supported a wholesale cap based on averaged charges, and the proposed Consumer Protection Tariff.[20] The Sub-Committee also considered that regulatory intervention in the market should not be undertaken on the basis of guess-work, and that more and better research should form the basis for a review of the Regulation in the short term.


31.  The Commission's proposals for greater cooperation, coherence and visibility in European foreign policy were scrutinised by our Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy (Sub-Committee C).[21] The Sub-Committee took evidence from the then Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon MP; the Director-General for External Economic Relations and Politico-Military Affairs in the Council Secretariat; Ambassador Cutileiro, Special Adviser to President Barroso; Commission officials; Erwan Fouéré, EU Special Representative and Head of Commission Delegation, FYROM; Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, Former Commissioner for External Affairs and Vice-President of the Commission; and Professor Alan Dashwood CBE, Professor of European Law, University of Cambridge. The Sub-Committee concluded that the Commission's proposals were sensible and pragmatic and would lead to better working relationships and to a more visible and credible EU presence in third countries and multilateral organisations.


32.  Following Sub-Committee C's inquiry into EU-Africa relations, published as "The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership" in July 2006, this Report published the Government's response and commented on specific developments in the implementation of the EU's Strategy for Africa.[22] The Report concluded that progress had been made but that the Government would need to ensure that the Strategy remained high on the EU's agenda.


33.  Two Reports published the evidence heard by Sub-Committee from officials of the Ministry of Defence.[23]


34.  Sub-Committee C held two evidence sessions with the then Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon MP, one of which focussed on recent developments in Kosovo. The Sub-Committee also held an evidence session with Mr Hoon's successor, Jim Murphy MP. Three short Reports were published providing the transcripts of these evidence sessions.[24]


35.  In this inquiry, Sub-Committee C examined the role of the EU in the context of the Middle East Peace Process; scrutinised whether the EU's policies, diplomatic initiatives, and financial and operational instruments were effective and coherent; and considered if the EU's policies could be improved and what initiatives the EU could pursue to take a new process forward.[25] The Sub-Committee heard evidence from witnesses including Dr Kim Howells MP, then Minister of State (Middle East) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the Ambassadors of Egypt and Syria and the Israeli Ambassador to the EU; the Palestinian General Delegate; and Dr Javier Solana, EU High Representative.

36.  The Sub-Committee concluded that the EU had made a significant policy contribution and had an important role in the policy sphere which should be maintained; the EU should press on the United States the importance to the region of sustained US engagement in the Middle East Peace Process. The EU was right to require Hamas to renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept past agreements signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, but should avoid an undesirably rigid approach to dealing with Hamas. The EU should strengthen the bilateral relationship with Israel and press the government to transfer quickly the remaining Palestinian tax and customs revenues to the Palestinian authorities.

37.  The Sub-Committee considered that the role played by the Arab League States was to be commended, that engagement with Syria should continue, and that the EU should give full support to the government of the Lebanon in its efforts to sustain the independence and territorial integrity of the country. The Sub-Committee concluded that engagement with Iran should continue but Iran should not be allowed to have a veto over the peace process. The Sub-Committee found that the European Neighbourhood Policy was useful as a tool for greater engagement with the parties to the conflict and for exercising EU influence in favour of the peace process. Finally, the Report concluded that the EU should not allow the peace process to be held hostage by any faction, individual or state, and should resist attempts by extremists on both sides to derail the process.


38.  The inquiry into biofuels conducted by our Sub-Committee on Environment and Agriculture (Sub-Committee D) was completed by the publication of this Report in November 2006.[26] The Report drew attention to the two differing objectives of Member States in promoting biofuels use: greater security of energy supplies, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and to the differing fiscal policies used by Member States in promoting biofuels use. The Report highlighted the need to take account, where biofuels were imported from outside the Community, of the environmental consequences of their production as well as the reduction in greenhouse gases from their use.

39.  The Report welcomed the setting out by the EU of reference targets, but urged the Commission to consider amending its Biofuels Directive to encourage Member States to use biofuels obligations, along the lines of the UK's Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, as a tool to achieve targets. The Report did not advocate the use of subsidies, but it acknowledged that, in order to stimulate initial growth of the biofuels market, Government intervention might continue to be necessary in order to provide longer-term assurance to investors.


40.  The EU adopted ambitious new legislation in 2000 designed to protect and restore clean water in sufficient quantity across Europe. Making it work, however, created many challenges for all those involved. Putting the Water Framework Directive into practice also required some of its aspirations to be quantified in the form of binding standards. The importance of making sure that these standards were set at an appropriate level led Sub-Committee D to take evidence from the UK Government and from the Environment Agency.

41.  Sub-Committee D concluded that implementation seemed to be proceeding relatively well throughout the United Kingdom, although it was still very early days.[27] The Sub-Committee felt that if this success were to continue, partnership would be key, and that local authorities, planners, government and farmers, to name but a few, would need to work together. The Sub-Committee considered that in some instances, it might prove disproportionately costly or technically impractical to achieve in the short term the ambitious targets that were demanded. That was why some flexibility was built into the Water Framework Directive, but the Sub-Committee concluded that it was crucial that this flexibility was not abused.


42.  Sub-Committee D examined the state of the wine sector in Europe, with a view to influencing the decision-making on Commission proposals for reform. In an interim Report published in July 2007, the Sub-Committee's emerging conclusions included the view that distillation subsidies needed to be ended, and that the ban on new vineyard plantings should be lifted.[28] There was a need to make the wine industry more consumer-orientated (for example, by relaxations on wine labelling rules), while unproductive vineyards should be given grubbing-up allowances. The Sub-Committee thought that funds should be transferred from market intervention to the promotion of rural development.

43.  The Sub-Committee took evidence from the European Commission and Parliament, key Member States, UK supermarkets, EU and non-EU wine growers, and trade associations, amongst others.


44.  The publication of this Report in October 2007 concluded Sub-Committee D's inquiry into European wine.[29] This Report published the evidence given to the Committee by Lord Rooker, Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Having heard this evidence, the Sub-Committee Members were confirmed in their view that they regarded the Commission's proposals as constituting an important step in the direction of setting the EU wine industry onto a sounder basis. However, the Sub-Committee had serious reservations about the extension of the ban on new plantings from 2010 to 2013 and the prohibition of the use of sucrose in wine making.

45.  The Report also outlined the Sub-Committee's views on the underlying weaknesses of the EU wine industry and the changes in its structure and mind-set which needed to take place if the Commission's legislative proposals were to bear fruit. The Report dealt with: attitudes to wine production, which appeared to be too oriented towards the needs of producers and not enough towards those of consumers; with changes in public attitudes to wine, which the Sub-Committee believed the EU wine industry had been slow to recognise; with the different structure and modus operandi of the New World wine industries which had enabled them to achieve an increasing share of the EU wine market; and with what the Sub-Committee saw as the need for more vertical integration of the industry, from wine growing, through production, to marketing. It was clear to the Sub-Committee that significant changes in all these areas were needed and that, unless such change took place, the legislative reforms which the Commission had proposed would have only limited effect.


46.  A proposal for a Regulation on the applicable law and jurisdiction in divorce matters ('Rome III') was inquired into by our Sub-Committee on Law and Institutions (Sub-Committee E).[30] The Sub-Committee took evidence from officials and an expert adviser from the then Department for Constitutional Affairs. The Sub-Committee concluded that while the matter was one for international rather than national action, there were doubts as to whether the Commission had proved that action was necessary, raising questions of both legal base (the Article or Articles of the Treaties giving the EU power to act) and subsidiarity (the principle that action should only be taken by the Union if and so far as the objectives of the action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States). The Sub-Committee also had concerns about whether the proposal was proportionate, and questioned whether the objective might be achieved by simpler and less prescriptive means.

47.  The Report was, as part of a pilot of the COSAC (para 142) subsidiarity and proportionality checking mechanism, sent to the COSAC Presidency, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council.


48.  Sub-Committee E took evidence from Lord Goldsmith QC, the then Attorney General, as a follow-up to the Committee's Report on a proposed Framework Decision establishing minimum safeguards for criminal proceedings, published in spring 2005. Over the 18 months following the publication of that first Report, negotiations on the proposal had continued, resulting in a much-amended draft Framework Decision, and support in some Member States for the drafting of an alternative Political Resolution.

49.  Following the evidence session, a Report was published concluding that the amended draft of the proposal would add little value to existing protections. The Sub-Committee felt that while practical measures pursuant to a Political Resolution could prove useful in the short-term, they would not provide an adequate long-term alternative to legislation.


50.  Geoff Hoon MP, then Minister for Europe, gave evidence to Sub-Committee E as a follow-up to the Committee's Report on the criminal competence of the EC. The Report focused on the proposed use of the passerelle (bridge) clause to transfer some or all of police and judicial affairs from the co-operative 'third pillar' of the EU to the supranationalist 'first pillar'.[31] Such a transfer would presumably remove the need for unanimity in the Council in such affairs, and would have important constitutional implications for the UK. The Sub-Committee was interested to note that the Minister expressed caution in relation to proposals being put forward that had previously been agreed to as part of the Constitutional Treaty. The Report was published in March 2007.


51.  Sub-Committee E investigated a suggestion from the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) that the EU judicial system would be improved by the addition of a court set up specifically to hear competition cases. Key issues included the length of time required for appeals in competition cases to be heard and settled, and the factors that acted to elongate this period, which the CBI argued was often too long for an appeal to be valuable. Witnesses heard included representatives of the CBI, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal, UK competition experts, representatives of the Commission and the Court of First Instance, and lawyers with relevant experience.

52.  The Sub-Committee concluded that a new competition court was not necessary, but instead advised investigation of various less radical methods for shortening the time taken by appeals.[32]


53.  The Commission's proposal for creating a 'European supervision order' (ESO) in pre-trial procedures between Member States, which would allow Member States to mutually recognise pre-trial supervision measures, was the subject of an inquiry conducted by Sub-Committee E.[33] Thousands of people are detained in custody abroad who would likely be granted bail if they had been arrested in their home State. This is because of a fear that the 'foreign' suspect might fail to return to face trial. The ESO could change this situation by allowing many of those accused of crimes in other EU Member States to return home rather than await trial in a foreign jail.

54.  The Sub-Committee took evidence from Stephen Jakobi OBE, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers, the European Commission, the Law Society of England and Wales, Senior District Judge Timothy Workman, and Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, then Home Office Minister.

55.  The Sub-Committee concluded that the ESO had the potential to enhance the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence across the EU, and broadly welcomed the Commission's proposal. However, the Sub-Committee felt that there were a number of places where the scheme should be improved. The Sub-Committee proposed a number of changes aimed at making the ESO sufficiently clear and secure as to command the confidence of prosecutors and judges in the trial state and to be workable in both states involved. The Sub-Committee considered that the proposal deserved prompt attention by Member States and found it regrettable that the Council of Ministers had yet to accord it any priority.


56.  This inquiry, undertaken by our Home Affairs Sub-Committee (Sub-Committee F), considered the October 2006 meeting of the interior ministers of the six largest Member States (G6). The Sub-Committee's Report on the previous meeting at Heiligendamm had been critical of the decisions made and the procedure for making them and recommended that the results of G6 meetings should be fully publicised by the Home Office. The Report on Stratford-upon-Avon commented adversely on the Home Secretary's failure to give oral evidence, despite having given an undertaking to do so, and concluded that while there had been some limited improvement in the Home Office culture of secrecy about these meetings, there had been no improvement in the readiness of the G6 ministers to take seriously the need for a third pillar Data Protection Framework Decision.[34]


57.  Sub-Committee F considered the Commission proposals for the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II): a Regulation covering the use of SIS II with respect to immigration matters, and a Decision which would cover the use of SIS II for policing and criminal law data.[35] The UK is taking part in the Decision but is not party to the adoption of the Regulation. Oral evidence was taken from 25 witnesses including Ministers and officials from the Home Office and Department for Constitutional Affairs, officials from the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and the Director-General of the Commission's Directorate-General for Justice, Liberty and Security.

58.  The Sub-Committee concluded that the Government should put more resources into its participation in SIS II. The Sub-Committee made a number of recommendations, including the proposal that Ministers should persuade their colleagues from the Schengen States that police and other law enforcement bodies in the UK must have access to other Member States' immigration data relating to the criminality of the individuals concerned. The Sub-Committee felt that there must be more openness about the changes, and independent management of the system. The Sub-Committee also concluded that data protection provisions were inadequate.


59.  The Prüm Treaty is a treaty between seven Member States to enhance co-operation for combating terrorism and crime. The German European Presidency proposed a Decision which would apply the provisions of the Treaty to all Member States by incorporating them into EU law. Sub-Committee F took evidence from nine witnesses, and the Report criticised the procedure being used, in particular regarding the lack of consultation; the absence of an explanatory memorandum, regulatory impact assessment or cost estimate; and the pressure applied by the Presidency to obtain agreement before the end of June—the Sub-Committee found the procedure wholly inappropriate for making major changes to EU law.[36]


60.  An Agreement on the transfer of PNR data to the US, concluded in 2004, offered inadequate safeguards and was ruled unlawful by the Court of Justice. Sub-Committee F considered what the negotiations for a replacement Agreement should be seeking to achieve. The Sub-Committee's Report made a number of recommendations on the provisions, which stressed the importance of the undertakings governing the collection, use, retention and transfer of data being clear, unequivocal and not susceptible of unilateral amendment.[37]


61.  The original Report on the Commission's proposal to set up an agency to co-ordinate research and information sharing and raise awareness of gender issues in the EU was published in April 2006 after an inquiry by our Social Policy and Consumer Affairs Sub Committee (Sub-Committee G). An amended proposal was published in May 2006, but the Government overrode scrutiny (by voting for the proposal before the Committee's scrutiny was complete) in June 2006. This supplementary Report, prepared by our Sub-Committee on Social Policy and Consumer Affairs (Sub-Committee G) recorded the background to the override and the questions of principle that arose.[38]

62.  The Sub-Committee had concerns regarding the proposed management structure, the practice of automatically awarding seats on management boards of EU agencies to every Member State, the budget and the legal base for the Institute. The proposal has since been amended to include a management board of 18 rather than 25 members.


63.  This inquiry by Sub-Committee G looked at the Commission's Green Paper "Improving the mental health of the population: Towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union". The inquiry aimed to examine whether an EU strategy on mental health would be appropriate, given national competence for public health policies, and how it might complement and add value to the strategies of Member States.[39]

64.  In the Report, the Sub-Committee concluded that there was an important role for the EU in facilitating the exchange of information and best practice, and urged a wider public recognition of the considerable body of evidence which indicated the substantial social and economic impact of mental health problems. The Sub-Committee also made a number of recommendations regarding mental health systems. The Sub-Committee later received indications from the Commission that the Report influenced the way in which the proposals for action, following the Green Paper consultation, were drawn up.


65.  This Report published the evidence provided to Sub-Committee G relating to the Commission's Communication "Consultation regarding Community Action in Health Services" by Rosie Winterton MP, then Minister for Health Services.[40] The Sub-Committee recognised a need to get the European Health Service right so that it could provide a fair and transparent system for people seeking health care without undermining the UK health service. The Sub-Committee will look further at the issues when the Commission produces firm proposals.


66.  This inquiry tackled the Commission's proposal to establish a European Institute of Technology (EIT) as a way of addressing the perceived weakness of the EU in introducing commercially successful technological innovation in manufacturing and services. This interim Report published: the evidence given to Sub-Committee G by the organisation Universities UK; the letter the Sub-Committee sent to the Commission regarding the Sub-Committee's concerns about the proposal, and asking for the Commissioner's views on a number of questions; and the Sub-Committee's correspondence with the Ministers for Life-long Learning, Further and Higher Education and for Science and Innovation.[41]


67.  In this second, expanded Report on the proposal for a European Institute of Technology, Sub-Committee G set out a concept for the EIT, differing from that of the Commission's, which the Sub-Committee concluded could have been more effective in facilitating successful, locally led collaboration on technological innovation between business and universities.[42]

68.  The Sub-Committee, while regretting that this approach was not taken in drawing up the text of the proposed Regulation, accepted the reality that the final Regulation was likely to be along the lines of that on which the German Presidency secured a "general approach" at the Competitiveness Council meeting held on 25 June 2007. The Report set out the Sub-Committee's comments and recommendations about the proposal.


69.  This inquiry was conducted by Sub-Committee G in order to explore the issues arising from the Commission's Green Paper "Modernising labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century". The Sub-Committee aimed to investigate the role that labour law had played in the UK economy, and the need for the modernisation advocated by the Commission.[43]

70.  The Sub-Committee concluded that the UK had been relatively successful in recent years at creating jobs and allowing flexibility in the labour market. The Sub-Committee was concerned to ensure that that success would not be undermined by overly proscriptive EU legislation. The Sub-Committee felt that rather than agreeing to increased EU legislation, the Government should be focusing on areas where the UK labour market could be improved: the Government's priorities should be tackling low skills and social inequality to improve the UK's labour productivity, rather than changing labour law. The EU would do better to share best practice on increasing the competitiveness of its labour markets than seek to legislate.

71.  Oral evidence was taken from academic experts, the CBI, the Federation for Small Businesses, the Trades Union Congress, and the Minister for Employment Relations.

Other significant items of scrutiny

72.  Alongside their detailed inquiries, the Sub-Committees regularly deal with scores of other important EU proposals and documents. These scrutiny items are analysed and discussed in Committee, and the issues are often pursued with the Government through correspondence with the relevant Ministers. This correspondence is public, and is published in periodical Reports ("Correspondence with Ministers"[44]) and on the Sub-Committee websites.[45] Some of the significant items of scrutiny dealt with in the past year are listed below.


  • inspection arrangements for Traditional Own Resources (examining whether Member States are collecting customs and agricultural duties correctly).








73.  Many of the most substantial Reports published by the Committee are 'recommended for debate'. Once the Government's Response has been received, the Report and Response are debated on the floor of the House (Responses are regularly published in the Report "Government Responses"[46]). This year the Reports debated have included:

  • Financial Management and Fraud in the European Union: Perceptions, Facts and Proposals: This Report was debated in the House on 5 March 2007. The Report was generally well received in all quarters of the House, except by Members from the UK Independence Party who declared it a "whitewash".[47]
  • Stopping the Carousel: Missing Trader Fraud in the EU: This Report was debated on 2 July 2007. The Government maintained their position that the measures, introduced in the spring, would prevent the problem.
    • The Seventh Framework Programme for Research: In the debate, held on 3 November 2006, there was agreement from all sides of the House with the increase in budget for research and development in the EU, as a part of the Lisbon Strategy, and with the need for access to funding to be simplified.
    • Including Aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme: The report was published in January 2006, and the debate was delayed until the Commission had issued its formal proposal. The debate was held on 8 March 2007.
    • Mobile Phone Charges in the EU: Curbing the Excesses: In the debate of 24 May 2007, Members of the Sub-Committee reiterated their support for a wholesale cap based on average charges, as well as a 'Consumer Protection Tariff'. The Sub-Committee also called for the data roaming market to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The debate took place on the same day as the vote in the European Parliament; good use was made of this as a media hook and the Chairman was quoted extensively on specialist websites and publications.
    • The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership: Both this Report and the follow-up Report were debated in the House on 30 November 2006. Presenting the Report, Lord Bowness said: "Our conclusions on the strategy were that the European Union is right to emphasise the principle of African ownership and its policies but that divisions between Council and Commission and the European Union and Member States have to be addressed; … that pressure to implement reforms of governance must be maintained by the European Union and the African Union; and that the commitments on funding must be met. If the European Union cannot successfully implement the strategy, the achievement of the millennium development goals and the aims of the strategy will remain in doubt and, despite good intentions, we will fail the people of Africa."[48]
    • Europe in the World: This report was debated in the House on 8 February 2007. The Minister said: "whether we think that the progress is fast enough or not—this debate has demonstrated that European Union Sub-Committee C has produced an excellent report that focuses on how we can be more effective in some of the areas that are vital to the United Kingdom."[49]
    • Managing Nuclear Safety and Waste: The Role of the EU: The Committee's Report was debated in the House on 18 January 2007. Lord Renton of Mount Harry said that during his time as Chairman of Sub-Committee D, "This study of the EU and nuclear issues was one of the most interesting that we undertook."[50]
    • The EU strategy on Biofuels: From Field to Fuel: This Report was debated in the House on 19 April 2007. Lord Sewel, in presenting the Report, said: "Its purpose was to assess whether the EU biofuels directive was proving effective as a means of increasing the biofuels content of road transport energy. I suppose the short but accurate answer is that it has not."[51]
  • Schengen Information System (SIS II): During the debate on 12 October 2007, many speakers criticised the failure of the Home Office to be ready to sign up to the first Schengen Information System, and the fact that it would be over a year late in participating in SIS II, a matter which many senior police officers had criticised. The Minister accepted that this was regrettable, and blamed it on a shortage of skilled technicians. Other points raised in the course of the debate were the benefits of biometric identifiers used in SIS II, and the dangers of treating biometric matches as infallible. Most of those who spoke agreed with the Committee that even though the United Kingdom retained its own border controls, it should be allowed to access immigration data for policing and law enforcement purposes. The data protection issues involved in such a vast database of personal information were considered.
  • Improving the mental health of the population: can the European Union help?: The Committee's Report was debated on 17 October 2007. Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, speaking for the Government, stated how much she appreciated the depth of the Committee's report, its grasp of some very complex issues and the quality of its analysis. She said that the EU's communication on mental health was awaited with great interest and that she hoped the Government would be able to play an active and leading role in taking forward the strategy it set out, and through it the World Health Organisation action plan, for the benefit of the many millions of vulnerable people in the UK and the rest of the European Union who suffered from mental health problems.


74.  Over the course of the year representatives of the Committee have made a number of journeys abroad in order to interview witnesses and gain information for supporting the Committee's scrutiny. Visits undertaken by Members of the Committee and Sub-Committees this year have included:


Committees taking evidence abroad
Select Berlin Meetings with witnesses for Enlargement inquiry
Oct 06
SelectParis Meetings with witnesses for Enlargement inquiry
Oct 06
SelectBrussels Meetings with Commissioner Wallström and MEPs for the Annual Policy Strategy inquiry.
May 07
SelectBrussels Meetings with the UK Permanent Representative to the EU, UK MEPs and Commission officials on the IGC and Reform Treaty.
Sep 07
ABrussels Meetings with witnesses for Own Resources and Missing Trader Fraud reports. Evidence sessions with Sharon Bowles MEP, Alain Lamassoure MEP, Commissioner Kovacs, officials from DG Budget and Eurostat. Informal dinner with MEPs and a meeting with Sir John Grant, then Permanent Representative.
Jan 07
AFrankfurt Informal discussions with the European Central Bank to inform Members of its role and operations.
Jun 07
BBrussels Evidence sessions for the TV Without Frontiers inquiry with Gregory Paulger, Commission; Jim Murray, BEUC (the European Consumers' Organisation); and representatives from the Finnish Presidency working group (informal).
Nov 06
BBrussels Evidence sessions for the mobile phone charges inquiry with Commissioner Viviane Reding; BEUC; Paul Kruger, Chair of the German Presidency Working Group; and Dr Paul Rubig, Rapporteur for the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
Feb 07
BBrussels Evidence sessions for the inquiry on the Single Market review with Commission officials, BEUC, businesseurope, the European Regulators' Group for Electricity and Gas, and the European Trade Union Confederation.
Jul 07
CBrussels Evidence sessions for the inquiry into the Middle East Peace Process with the Commission, the EU Council Secretariat, Dr Javier Solana and Dr Jana Hybaskova MEP.
Mar 07
DBrussels Meetings for the inquiry into the EU wine sector with the Commission, European Parliament, key Member States, and trade associations.
Mar 07
DLanguedoc and Bordeaux Meetings with French government spokesmen, wine-growers, and producer associations to take oral evidence and to see the problems of the wine sector at first hand.
May 07
FBrussels Meetings to take evidence from five witnesses in connection with the inquiry into SIS II.
Nov 06
FBrusselsMeetings to take evidence from three witnesses in connection with the inquiries into the Prüm Treaty and the Passenger Name Record Agreement.
Mar 07
FBrussels Members attended seminars on the Passenger Name Record Agreement organised by the Article 29 Committee and the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Mar 07
FBrussels The Chairman attended a seminar on the Passenger Name Record Agreement organised by the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. It was addressed by the US Secretary for Homeland Security.
May 07
FBrussels, Warsaw and the Polish/ Ukraine border Evidence session for the inquiry into Frontex.
Oct 07


75.  It is important to effective scrutiny and to the Committee's influence on EU legislation that the Committee has good relations with the European Parliament. Additionally, the Committee works with other parliaments to share best practice and scrutiny methods. The Committee is also in contact with the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly, as well as with the European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons, to discuss areas of common interest and the co-ordination of scrutiny work. Some of the Committee's meetings with other parliamentarians in the past year are listed below.


76.  During October 2006, Lord Grenfell held meetings with Representatives of the German Federal States to the Bundesrat; Mr. Michel Herbillon, Member of the French Parliament; and Mr. Biancarelli, French Conseiller d'Etat. In November 2006, Lord Grenfell met with Jim Wallace MSP, and the Select Committee met with the Turkish Foreign Minister.

77.  In January 2007, Lord Grenfell met with the new Polish Speaker, and the Select Committee met with the Slovenian Ambassador, while in February 2007, Lord Grenfell met with Members of the Slovenian Commission for Foreign Policy. Also in February 2007, the Select Committee met with French parliamentarians; the Committee met with Turkish parliamentarians and the Turkish Ambassador in March 2007. The same month, Lord Grenfell was invited by the President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives to address the Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs of the Belgian Parliament. Also in March 2007, Lord Grenfell held meetings with members of the National Assembly of Slovenia and with members of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee.

78.  In May 2007, the Select Committee met with the European Commissioner for Consumers. Lord Grenfell met with the Polish Ambassador, and with the Belgian Ambassador and Belgian officials, during June 2007. Lord Grenfell met with the Committee on EU Policies at the Italian Chamber of Deputies in October 2007.

79.  Members of the Select Committee met with UK Members of the European Parliament and Members of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee in October 2006, February 2007 and May 2007. Lord Grenfell and the Committee Clerks held their regular meeting with the Chairman and Clerks of the European scrutiny committees of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly in February 2007. The Select Committee attended the Joint Parliamentary Meetings on the future of Europe in Brussels in December 2006 and June 2007, and Members of the Select Committee attended COSAC meetings and COSAC Chairpersons' meetings throughout the year.


80.  The call for evidence for Sub-Committee A's inquiry on the Euro was sent to the devolved assemblies, but they were unable to contribute due to forthcoming elections.

81.  Senator Marini from the French Senate met with members of Sub-Committee A on 16 April 2007 as part of his research into economic decision centres.

82.  Members of the Sub-Committee met with Members of the European Parliament and national parliaments in December 2006 to discuss the issue of 'own resources'.

83.  Members attended a February 2007 inter-parliamentary meeting organised by the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on the Euro Zone.

84.  The Chairman attended the European Parliament Committee on Budgets meeting of Chairs of Budget Committees on 28 June 2007, and took the opportunity to note the Sub-Committee's earlier reports on own resources.


85.  The Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly were both consulted on the Sub-Committee's response to the Postal Services Directive, which was selected by COSAC as a test-case for a proportionality and subsidiarity check (para 142).

86.  Consultations and evidence sessions with MEPs were held on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

87.  In November 2006 the Sub-Committee liaised with Malcolm Harbour, of the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee, to discuss matters of mutual future interest for both Committees over the coming year.

88.  A meeting with Arlene McCarthy, Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee in the European Parliament has been arranged for the autumn of 2007.


89.  The Chairman and Clerk attended the Conference of the Chairpersons of Foreign Affairs Committees of the Member States of the EU, the European Parliament and the Parliaments of the Candidate States, in Berlin during February 2007.

90.  Committee members attended the Conference of the Development Committee Chairpersons in Berlin during March 2007.

91.  The Chairman and Clerk attended the Conference of the Chairpersons of Defence Committees of the Member States of the EU, the European Parliament and the Parliaments of the Candidate States, in Berlin during April 2007.


92.  Members attended EU conferences involving agriculture committees of national parliaments on "The European Model of Agriculture" (Helsinki, October 2006); and on "The Development of Agriculture in the Euro-Mediterranean Region" (Strasbourg, September 2006).

93.  Members attended two sessions with MEPs in the European Parliament as part of the EU wine sector inquiry.

94.  Members also attended an EU conference involving committees of national parliaments on "the potential of rural areas and energies" (Berlin, May 2007), and participated in the Joint parliamentary Meeting on Climate Change (Brussels, October 2007).

95.  The Chairman presented the Committee's interim report on the Wine Sector to the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament on 12 September 2007.


96.  A Committee Member presented the conclusions of the Sub-Committee's inquiry into the European Supervision Order to a meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in October 2007.

97.  Contact was made with the Scottish Parliament (at officials' level) to co-ordinate the handling of the Rome III inquiry and report.


98.  The Sub-Committee maintained correspondence with Baroness Ludford MEP about the Heiligendamm report, and with Tom Wise MEP about the Prüm Convention, as well as with Sophie in't Veld MEP, Alexander Alvaro MEP and Jean Lambert MEP about the Sub-Committee's inquiries.

99.  The Chairman represented the Committee at a meeting of the Chairmen of Home Affairs Committees of the parliaments of the Member States in Berlin during May 2007, and in Lisbon during September 2007.

100.  The Sub-Committee took evidence from three MEPs in October 2007.


101.  The Chairman of the Sub-Committee addressed the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee of the European Parliament about the Sub-Committee's report on the proposed Consumer Credit Directive.

102.  An oral evidence session was held with Mr John Bowis MEP relating to the inquiry into a European Mental Health Strategy.


103.  IPEX is a website[52] for inter-parliamentary co-operation maintained by the national parliaments of the European Union and the European Parliament. The site contains a page for each proposal and communication from the European Commission, to which national parliaments can add information about the status and conclusions of parliamentary scrutiny. The site is entirely public, meaning that parliaments and members of the public can track the progress of EU legislation through national parliaments and read their comments. IPEX also has a calendar for EU inter-parliamentary events.

104.  The stage which every EU document (deposited since spring 2007) has reached in the Committee's scrutiny has been entered onto the IPEX website for the information of parliamentarians and the public.


105.  The Committee's first EU Liaison Officer has just returned from three years' work in Brussels, and has been replaced by his successor who will work on further developing the role.

106.  The focus of the EU Liaison Officer's work is on explaining and promoting the Committee's work in Brussels, and fostering contact with people in the EU Institutions in order to enhance further the reputation of the House among EU decision-makers and to gain increased influence for the Committee's recommendations. The EU Liaison Officer also helps our Westminster staff track developments in Brussels and Strasbourg. The Liaison Officer works to distribute the Committee's Reports and Calls for Evidence to UK MEPs and MEPs on relevant European Parliament committees, and to distribute the Committee's monthly newsletter to UK MEPs, Brussels-based stakeholders and key officials. Many submissions of written evidence for the Committee's inquiries have been received from MEPs as a result. Committee visits to Brussels are also assisted by the Liaison Officer.

107.  The EU Liaison Officer reported in May that the Government had written to the Committee at least twice in the previous six months to inform them of instances where Report recommendations had been taken up (regarding the European Anti-Fraud Office, and issuing a national statement of assurance on spending of EU funds). Other Committee recommendations (about the Court of Auditors, the funding of the CAP, the Fundamental Rights Agency, the Consumer Credit Directive) had been taken up by MEPs. The previous two years had seen mentions of our reports in the European Parliament plenary, in European Parliament resolutions and by a Commissioner.

5   "The Further Enlargement of the EU: threat or opportunity?", 53rd Report (2005-06), HL 273,  Back

6   "The Further Enlargement of the EU: follow-up Report", 24th Report (2006-07), HL 125,  Back

7   "The Commission's 2007 Legislative and Work Programme", 7th Report (2006-07), HL 42,  Back

8   "The Commission's Annual Policy Strategy for 2008", 23rd Report (2006-07), HL 123, Back

9   "Evidence from the Minister for Europe on the Outcome of the December European Council", 4th Report (2006-07), HL 31,  Back

10   "Evidence from the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany on the German Presidency", 10th Report (2006-07), HL 56,; "Evidence from the Ambassador of Portugal on the Priorities of the Portuguese Presidency", 29th Report (2006-07), HL 143,  Back

11   "Evidence from the Minister for Europe on the June European Council and the 2007 Inter-Governmental Conference", 28th Report (2006-07), HL 142,  Back

12   "The 2007 Inter-Governmental Conference and the Reform Treaty: follow-up Report", 35th Report (2006-07), HL 180 (this Report is in the final stages of publication; it will be available at Back

13   "Government Responses: Session 2004-05", 6th Report (2006-07), HL 38,; "Correspondence with Ministers: March 2005 to January 2006", 45th Report (2005-06), HL 243,; "Remaining Government Responses Session 2004-05, Government Responses Session 2005-06", 37th Report (2006-07) HL 182 and "Correspondence with Ministers, January-September 2006", 40th Report (2006-07), HL Paper 187, both in the process of publication.  Back

14   "Financial Management and Fraud in the European Union: Perceptions, Facts and Proposals", 50th Report (2005-06), HL 270,  Back

15   "Financial Management and Fraud in the European Union: Responses to the Report", 19th Report (2006-07), HL 98, Back

16   "Stopping the Carousel: Missing Trader Fraud in the EU", 20th Report (2006-07), HL 101,  Back

17   "Funding the European Union", 12th Report (2006-07), HL 64,  Back

18   "The 2008 EC Budget", 33rd Report (2006-07), HL 160,  Back

19   "Television Without Frontiers", 3rd Report (2006-07), HL 27,  Back

20   "Mobile Phone Charges in the EU: Curbing the Excesses", 17th Report (2006-07), HL 79,  Back

21   "Europe in the World", 48th Report (2005-06), HL 268,  Back

22   "The EU and Africa: Follow-up Report", 49th Report (2005-06), HL 269,  Back

23   "Current Developments in EU Defence Policy", 34th Report (2006-07), HL 161,; "Current Developments in EU Defence Policy", 1st Report (2006-07), HL 17,  Back

24   "Current Developments in European Foreign Policy", 16th Report (2006-07), HL 76,; "Current Developments in European Foreign Policy: Kosovo", 32nd Report (2006-07), HL 154,; "Current Developments in European Foreign Policy", 38th Report (2006-07), HL 183 (this Report is in the final stages of publication; it will be available at Back

25   "The EU and the Middle East Peace Process", 26th Report (2006-07), HL 132,  Back

26   "The EU Strategy on Biofuels: from field to fuel", 47th Report (2005-06), HL 267, Back

27   "Water Framework Directive: Making It Work", 27th Report (2006-07), HL 136,  Back

28   "European Wine: A Better Deal for All", 30th Report (2006-07), HL 144,  Back

29   "European Wine: A Better Deal for All; Final Report with Evidence", 39th Report (2006-07), HL 184 (this Report is in the final stages of publication; it will be available at Back

30   "Rome III-choice of law in divorce", 52nd Report (2005-06), HL 272,  Back

31   "Breaking the deadlock: what future for EU procedural rights?", 2nd Report (2006-07), HL 20, Back

32   "An EU Competition Court", 15th Report (2006-07), HL 75,  Back

33   "European Supervision Order", 31st Report (2006-07), HL 145,  Back

34   "After Heiligendamm: doors ajar at Stratford-upon-Avon", 5th Report (2006-07), HL 32,  Back

35   "Schengen Information System (SIS II)", 9th Report (2006-07), HL 49,  Back

36   "Prüm: an effective weapon against terrorism and crime?", 18th Report (2006-07), HL 90,  Back

37   "The EU/US Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement", 21st Report (2006-07), HL 108,  Back

38   "Proposed European Institute for Gender Equality: Supplementary Report", 51st Report (2005-06), HL 271,  Back

39   "Improving the mental health of the population": can the European Union help?", 14th Report (2006-07), HL 73,  Back

40   "Cross Border Health Services in the European Union", 8th Report (2006-07), HL 48,  Back

41   "Proposal to establish the European Institute of Technology: Interim Report", 13th Report (2006-07), HL 69,  Back

42   "Proposal to establish the European Institute of Technology", 25th Report (2006-07), HL 130, Back

43   "Modernising European Union labour law: has the UK anything to gain?", 22nd Report (2006-07), HL 120,  Back

44   "Correspondence with Ministers: March 2005 to January 2006", 45th Report (2005-06), HL 243,; and "Correspondence with Ministers, January-September 2006", 40th Report (2006-07), HL 187 (publication pending)  Back

45   Accessible from the Select Committee's website, Back

46   "Government Responses: Session 2004-05", 6th Report (2006-07), HL 38, and "Remaining Government Responses Session 2004-05, Government Responses Session 2005-06", 37th Report (2006-07), HL 182 (publication pending)  Back

47   HL Deb 5 March 2007 col 85 Back

48   HL Deb 30 November 2006 col 925. Back

49   HL Deb 8 February 2007 col 872. Back

50   HL Deb 18 January 2007 col 862. Back

51   HL Deb 19 April 2007 col 410. Back

52  Back

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