BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: OPENING OF NEGOTIATIONS
ON A STABILISATION AND ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
In my Explanatory Memorandum of 8 December I
undertook to seek an explanation for the delay of the Commission
Communication in the Council Secretariat between 24 October and
The trigger for the Cabinet Office to request
an Explanatory Memorandum from government departments is the circulation
of a text from the Council Secretariat. I regret that neither
we nor the Cabinet Office spotted the time delay in order to provide
an explanation to your Committee before an EM was submitted.
Officials at the UK Permanent Representation
to the European Union in Brussels have raised this issue with
the Council Secretariat and ascertained that this was an administrative
mistake, for which they apologise. This delay is regrettable.
Fortunately, it is unusual for documents to be delayed like this,
but we have registered our concern with the Council Secretariat
concerning both this and the delay relating to the Commission
Communication on the 10th Anniversary of the EuroMed Partnership.
The FCO will continue to monitor their circulation
of Council Communications to try and prevent any delays in the
future. As set out in my December letter on the Commission Communication
on the 10th Anniversary of the EuroMed Partnership, we will continue
working to ensure that the same early warning mechanism we have
developed for legislative material (Joint Actions, Common Positions
etc) is transposed for non-legislative documents, such as Commission
The FCO has made great strides in recent years
in the early deposit of legislative material using unofficial
texts, which both Committees have recognised and welcomed. We
will continue to work to ensure that the FCO submits Commission
documents at a suitable stage as unofficial text.
16 January 2006