Working with Other Parliaments
49. A key aspect of our role is close working
relations with other parliaments including the European Parliament.
Co-operation between national parliaments on EU scrutiny has grown
in formality and scope, and we are at the forefront of activity
within this area. The main formal grouping is the Conference of
Community and European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the
European Union (COSAC) which meets twice a year with each meeting
preceded by a meeting of the respective Chairmen. The 38th COSAC
meeting was held on 14-16 October 2007 in Lisbon; the 39th COSAC
meeting was held on 6-8 May 2008 in Brdo, Slovenia; the Chairman
attended both along with other Members of the Committee and he
also attended the Chairmen's meetings.
50. The Committee and its Sub-Committees also
seek to work closely with the European Parliament. Our Brussels-based
Liaison Officer is housed in the premises of the European Parliament
and has daily contact with officials from the other national parliaments
of the Union. In this field his role is twofold: he reports back
to us on the results of scrutiny activities in other national
parliaments and keeps others informed of our activities. He is
working both through COSAC and through bilateral contact, to improve
the effectiveness of the network of national parliaments' staff
in Brussels so that more, and more useful, information is shared
51. The Liaison Officer systematically distributes
substantive reports within the European Parliament including to
all UK MEPs. We have also recently begun providing translations
of the introductions and conclusions to some reports. So far,
Sub-Committee B has provided French and German translations of
its Single Market and Renewable Energy reports which were sent
to all French, German and Austrian MEPs and to these national
52. There are also joint parliamentary meetings
(JPMs), convened jointly by the parliament of the Presidency country
and the European Parliament, in which we take an active role.
In the last year the Chairman and Members of the Committee have
attended a JPM on the Western Balkans and a JPM on immigration
as well as the 4th JPM on the Lisbon Strategy and the 4th JPM
on the future of Europe.
53. We and our Sub-Committees are also active
participants in a number of joint committee meetings convened
by the parliament of the Presidency country and/or the relevant
committee of the European Parliament.
WORKING WITH THE DEVOLVED INSTITUTIONS
54. We communicate with our counterparts in the
devolved institutions and the Chairman attends the UK European
Committee Chairs meetings which include the House of Lords and
the House of Commons as well as the Scottish Parliament, Welsh
Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. The group has met
twice in the last year, here at Westminster in November 2007 and
in Edinburgh in June 2008.
55. There is also contact between the Sub-Committees
and their counterparts in the devolved institutions. For example,
as part of its inquiry on the CAP Sub-Committee D took evidence
in Edinburgh from the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs
and from Members of the Scottish Parliament.
1 http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_press_notices/pn130308eu.cfm Back
HL Deb 22 April 2008 col 1422 Back
COM (2008) 237, Annual Report 2007 on relations between the European
Commission and National Parliaments Back