European Union Committee

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The European Union Committee[1] is a select committee of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Its terms of reference are "To consider European Union documents and other matters relating to the European Union", as well as "to represent the House as appropriate in interparliamentary co-operation within the European Union".[2]

Much of the detailed scrutiny work on EU documents is conducted by the sub-committees, each dealing with a separate policy area. The main committee oversees the work of the sub-committees and approves their reports and scrutinises proposals that cross subject areas, such as the Treaty of Lisbon and the multiannual financial framework. In addition, the main committee takes evidence on the EU presidency from each incoming Presidency country, and on meetings of the Council of the European Union from the Minister for Europe.[3]

Committee members represent the House of Lords at a number of different interparliamentary meetings, such as COSAC and joint committee meetings at the European Parliament. As part of their work representing the House in interparliamentary co-operation within the EU, the committees contribute to the IPEX database, which brings together information about national parliamentary scrutiny from all EU Member States.[4]

Select Committee membership[edit]

The Select Committee has nineteen members: the chairman, the chairmen of the sub-committees, and other members, all of whom also sit on sub-committees.

As of 16 May 2012, the members of the main select committee are as follows:

Scrutiny work[edit]

The UK Government deposits European documents, such as draft Directives and Communications from the European Commission, in Parliament. These are then subjected to scrutiny by the EU Select Committee and its counterpart in the House of Commons, the European Scrutiny Committee. In the House of Lords system, each deposited document is sifted by subject area and importance for the Select Committee or one of the sub-committees to scrutinise carefully on an ongoing basis.[5] The Chairman of the Select Committee pursues any issues arising in correspondence with the responsible minister, and from time to time directly with the Commission. This correspondence is publicly available.[6]

Sub-committees[edit]

Prior to the start of the 2012–13 Session, the Select Committee had seven sub-committees. In May 2012, at the start of the new parliamentary session, the Select Committee restructured its sub-committees, eliminating the previous Sub-committee G (Social Policies and Consumer Protection)[7] and revising the remits of the remaining six sub-committees.[8] The new sub-committees are as follows:

Sub-committee A: Economic and Financial Affairs[edit]

Sub-committee A considers issues relating to economic and financial affairs within the European Union as well as tax issues. The Sub-committee has recently considered Carousel Fraud, the proposals for a Financial transaction tax, Solvency II and European Trade Policy. In addition it reviews the EU Preliminary Draft Budget each year.

As at the beginning of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee's membership was:[9]

Sub-committee B: Internal Market, Infrastructure, and Employment[edit]

Sub-committee B considers all issues arising from the internal market; employment policy; and transport issues, such as measures to liberalise the transport market in the EU and harmonising safety standards for road, rail, air and maritime transport. Prior to the start of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee considered matters relating to energy, including coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and renewables. However, this area now falls within Sub-committee D's remit.

The Sub-committee is also responsible for scrutinising research and technological development across the EU with a view to boosting the international competitiveness of the European economy is also covered. It also provides oversight in the House of Lords for the European Space Policy.

As at the beginning of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee's membership was:[10]

Sub-committee C: External Affairs[edit]

EU foreign affairs, defence, and development policy are within the remit of Sub-committee C. Included within this remit are relations between the EU and non-EU nations and with non-governmental organisations. The Sub-committee also considers issues relating to the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and to international trade. Prior to the start of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee considered matters of EU Enlargement. However, this now falls within the main Select Committee's remit.

As at the beginning of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee's membership was:[11]

Sub-committee D: Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy[edit]

Sub-committee D considers the Common Agriculture Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, animal health and welfare, and the environment (including climate change). It also considers matters relating to energy, including coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and renewables.

As at the beginning of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee's membership was:[12]

Sub-committee E: Justice, Institutions and Consumer Protection[edit]

The Sub-committee's remit includes civil and criminal law and the EU's institutions, agencies, and other bodies. It also includes matters of EU citizenship, consumer policy, and non-discrimination.

As at the beginning of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee's membership was:[13]

Following Lord Boyd of Duncansby's appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland in June 2012,[14] his seat on the Committee was taken up by Baroness Corston.[15]

Sub-committee F: Home Affairs, Health and Education[edit]

Sub-committee F considers documents and issues related to immigration and asylum, security policy, health and education policy.

As at the beginning of the 2012–13 Session, the Sub-committee's membership was:[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]