51st REPORT: PROPOSED EUROPEAN INSTITUTE
FOR GENDER EQUALITY: SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT
Letter from Meg Munn MP, Deputy Minister
for Women and Equality, Department for Communities and Local Government
to the Chairman of Sub-Committee G
This is to acknowledge the receipt of the House
of Lords supplementary report on the European Institute for Gender
In my recent correspondence, I informed you
that the regulation establishing the Institute has now been adopted.
I am pleased to inform you that majority of the recommendations
in this report have been taken into consideration.
Concerns were raised about the proposed sized
of the management board. We were able to re-negotiate during the
next phase of discussion for a medium sized management board,
for which the committee has shown support.
The issue of the voting weight has also been
resolved. Each member of the management board will now have one
vote each and decision will be taken by majority of its members.
This will ensure that the Commission does not have overall control
over the Institute.
The option of co-locating the Institute with
Fundamental Rights Agency did not arise as Vienna did not bid
to host the institute. To ensure close working relationship between
the Institute and Fundamental Rights Agency, the institute will
invite the director of Fundamental Rights Agency to attend its
management board meeting as an observer when deemed necessary,
particularly when coordinating the working programmes as regards
gender mainstreaming. Lithuania will be the location of the institute.
The regulation establishing the Institute gives
clear itemisation on the funding of the institute. On this basis,
we are satisfied that the institute will be adequately funded
to carry out its task properly.
We secured a declaration in the regulation establishing
the Institute that the legal based used cannot be construed as
a precedent for the establishment of further EU institutions in
the equality field. In future there will no longer be a need to
enter a minute statement objecting to the legal base as a matter
of course, unless the particular circumstances and context of
the proposal suggest that the measure would not assist harmonisation.
The Government will be shortly issuing new detailed
guidance to departments in order to ensure that a consistent approach
is adopted when considering the facts of a particular case with
the purpose of reaching a view on the legal base.
I hope this information is helpful.
9 February 2007
Letter from the Chairman to Meg Munn MP
Thank you for your letter to Baroness Thomas
of 9 February in which you set out the Government's Response to
our Report published on 30 November 2006 "Proposed European
Institute for Gender Equality: Supplementary Report". This
was considered by Sub-Committee G at their meeting on 8 March.
We welcome the information in your letter that
the majority of the recommendations set out in our Report were
taken into consideration in deciding the form in which the European
Institute for Gender Equality has been set up. The specific points
you list in your letter illustrate well the extent to which this
was the case.
However, one of the main reasons for our publication
of the Supplementary Report was to put on the record the issues
surrounding the override of the scrutiny reserve which took place
in connection with this EU document, and to explain the basis
on which the House of Lords scrutiny procedure operates. We would
therefore find it very welcome if you could write to us with the
assurance that you support the recommendation set out in paragraph
67 of the Report. This recommendation relates to the constitutional
importance of Parliamentary scrutiny of EU legislation and to
the need for the Government to promote a wide awareness of the
scrutiny reserve procedures.
In order to help with the smooth running of
future scrutiny cases, Simon BurtonClerk to the EU Select
Committeeand Barry WernerClerk to EU Sub-Committee
G (Social Policy and Consumer Affairs)would be very happy
to visit your Department to talk to your officials about the House
of Lords EU scrutiny procedures.
8 March 2007
Letter from Meg Munn MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your correspondence in response
to my recent letter in which I set out the Government's response
to the House of Lords' "Proposed European Institute for Gender
Equality: Supplementary Report".
Whilst you welcome the Government's response,
you also requested an assurance that we support the recommendation
set out in paragraph 67 of the report "that the Government
should take action to remind all Ministers and officials of the
constitutional importance of Parliamentary scrutiny of EU legislation".
I would like to reiterate, as I did during my
appearance before the Select Committee, that it is important that
Parliament have the opportunity to scrutinise policy proposals
and make their views known. The Government recognises this is
an important issue. I personally consider the scrutiny process
an important part of the legislative process, and overriding scrutiny
is not a decision l would take lightly.
I, therefore, express my support for the recommendation
set out in paragraph 67 of the Supplementary report. I would also
welcome the opportunity for the House of Lords Clerk to visit
my Department and talk to my officials about the House of Lords
European Union scrutiny procedures. My officials will be in touch
regarding setting up such a visit.
27 March 2007