Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP, Minister for Health Services, Department of Health

  In my letter to you dated 12 January 2006,[210] I said that we were considering the possibility of setting up an Inquiry into the issues raised by the Green Paper. Sub-Committee G have decided to do so when their present Inquiry into the Proposed EU Consumer Credit Directive is completed around the middle of May. I attach a copy of the Call for Evidence which we are issuing about the Inquiry (not printed).

  We would welcome the usual scene-setting oral evidence from your officials at the beginning of the Inquiry towards the end of May and hope that you would be able to give oral evidence to complete the Inquiry towards the end of June or early in July. We will be in touch with your officials about the arrangements for both sessions.

  We also look forward to receiving a copy of the Government's response to the Green Paper, which you have already promised to send us.

  The Green Paper will remain under scrutiny during the Inquiry.

30 March 2006

Letter from Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP to the Chairman

  I am writing further to my letter of 20 December 2005,[211] when I discussed the concerns about the Green Paper that your Committee had raised and said that I would let you see the Government's response to the Commission as soon as it was ready.

  I have enclosed a copy of the document that we have just sent to the Commission (not printed). It represents the views of the UK Government, including the devolved administrations. It, together with this letter, also constitutes our formal written evidence to your Committee's inquiry into the Green Paper.

  I hope the response is reasonably self-explanatory. To summarise, it generally concurs with the Green Paper's proposals subject to two clear principles:

    —    that any EU strategy that emerges must serve as a contribution to the Helsinki Declaration's implementation, not as an alternative to it; and

    —    that it must accommodate and support Member States' own local priorities (insofar as they are consistent with Helsinki and the strategy).

  The main extra points it makes are:

    —    the need for the strategy to address inequalities in mental health—this maintains consistency with the themes of last year's UK Presidency of the EU;

    —    the need for a strategy that integrates health and social care with other policy sectors—for example employment and education that have a role in promoting mental health and social inclusion; and

    —    the need for the strategy to be clear about what specific action the EU will take and who will be accountable for it.

  We expect the Commission to consider the outcome of its consultation over the coming months, and that we will have a proposal for an EU mental health strategy by the end of the year.

  Let us know if you need more information. I look forward to discussing the issues with the Committee soon.

26 May 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP

  Thank you for your letter dated 26 May which was considered by Sub-Committee G on 22 June.

  We are grateful to you for sending us a copy of the Government's Response to the European Commission and note that this also constitutes the Government's formal written evidence to our Inquiry into the Green Paper.

  The start of our Inquiry has unfortunately been delayed but we are in the process of reviewing the evidence and appointing Specialist Advisers and would welcome an on-the-record oral briefing from relevant officials of the Department to set the scene for the Inquiry. We hope that it might be possible to arrange a mutually convenient date for this before the House rises for the Summer Recess on 25 July.

  The Inquiry would then continue when Parliament resumes in the Autumn and we would look forward to taking oral evidence from you towards the end of the Inquiry in the usual way.

23 June 2006

210   Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, pp 656-657. Back

211   Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 656. Back

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