Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Department for Education and Skills

  Thank you very much for Explanatory Memorandum 6505/06 which Sub-Committee A considered at their meeting on 28 March and decided to release from scrutiny.

  The Committee broadly welcome such exercises as valuable contributions to improving the Open Method of Co-ordination which underpins the Lisbon Agenda. However, the Committee note that your Explanatory Memorandum does not demonstrate that you have analysed the policies in this area that are being pursued by other Member States. The Committee consider that an honest evaluation of national policies, informed by a review of the actions taken in other Member States, is necessary to ensure that best practice is efficiently shared across Europe. Could you please provide details of any such assessment that you have made.

  I have also written to the Chancellor for further clarification of how this Communication fits into the broader Lisbon Agenda.

30 March 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury

  As you may be aware, the Department for Education and Skills has recently deposited Explanatory Memorandum 6505/06 for scrutiny by the European Union Committees of both Houses. The Explanatory Memorandum and the Communication to which it refers were considered by Sub-Committee A of the House of Lords EU Committee on 28 March and were cleared from scrutiny. I have written to Bill Rammell MP, the Minister responsible for the Explanatory Memorandum, for clarification of some of the policy specific issues raised in the document. I am writing to you following comments made in evidence to my Committee by John Healey MP which indicated that you were responsible for co-ordinating policies designed to foster European growth and jobs.

  Broadly, the Committee welcomes such contributions from the Commission as we consider that they facilitate the sharing of best practice between Member States which we consider to be vital to the successful pursuit of the Lisbon Agenda's goals. Therefore, I am writing to you, as Minister responsible for economic policy, to ask for clarification of how this document fits into the European economic reform framework. This is the first such document we have considered. We would therefore be very grateful if you would provide details of any other Communications, either expected or already received, which seek to assess the performance of Member States in relation to specific policy areas. We would also be very grateful for information on the role you play in co-ordinating the Government's analysis of and responses to such Communications from the Commission.

30 March 2006

Letter from John Healey MP, Financial Secretary, HM Treasury to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 30 March to the Chancellor about the Commission communication implementing the Lisbon programme. I have been asked to reply.

  As you will be aware this Government is already doing much to promote an enterprise culture in our schools and universities that embraces the same principles as the European Commission's communication on "Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: Fostering entrepreneurial mindsets through education and learning." The Government recognises that a more entrepreneurial culture can only be achieved through widespread engagement by individuals and organisations across the UK. This must begin with helping young people develop enterprise and business related skills. Budget 2006 reported recently on the Goverment's actions in this area.

  You asked about the Chancellor's role in co-ordinating the Lisbon process. The Chancellor has overall responsibility for UK economic policy and overseeing delivery of the Government's PSA target on Lisbon. The Lisbon agenda is wide ranging and several Departments including DTI and DWP are responsible for policy and delivery of many aspects. The Cabinet Office leads in co-ordinating policy, as in other areas of UK Government policy. The Government is not convinced that appointing a single Lisbon Minister would further enhance the process of implementing reforms. The UK already has a very effective system of internal co-ordination, and this is reflected in our good track record on economic reform, which is one of the best in Europe.

  I hope you find this response helpful.

29 May 2006

Letter from Bill Rammell MP to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 30 March regarding the above Commission document. I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

  You asked whether any evaluation of national policies, informed by a review of the actions taken in other Member States, has been carried out. The Government agrees that policy development should be informed by evidence and best practice and believes that it is important to learn from the experience of other Member States. In this particular case, the government has been actively involved in the production of two EU publications (Education for Entrepreneurship in Primary and Secondary Schools and Mini-Companies in Secondary Education) both of which made comparisons between Member States. These publications were made available to schools during the pathfinder phase of the Government's enterprise education strategy.

  In addition the UK will be participating in a peer learning cluster on key competencies which will provide an opportunity for policy makers from different Member States to exchange best practice with their counterparts on enterprise education. We will of course ensure that this process informs future policy development.

Undated June 2006

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007