HC Deb 17 October 1975 vol 897 cc828-9W
Mr. Dalyell

asked the Prime Minister (1) what proposals he is making to the Governments of the Nine to set up machinery in the European Economic Community similar to that of the Committee of Public Accounts;

(2) what discussions he is having with the President of the European Assembly on setting up machinery, similar to that of the Public Accounts Committee, to scrutinise EEC expenditure;

(3) what discussions he has had with the German Chancellor on creating the post of a European Commissioner purely concerned with expenditure control.

The Prime Minister

On 26th September, in Liverpool, I suggested that the Assembly, backed by the new Court of Auditors, should develop a central rôle in monitoring expenditure over the whole range of Community policies along the lines of a resolution which has been passed by the Assembly to give to a Sub-Committee of its Committee on Budgets functions similar to those of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons. I also suggested that the Assembly might move towards the British idea of a Select Committee on Expenditure to review the basis of the expenditure programmes themselves. At the same time I referred to the proposal made by the Federal German Government for a Commissioner concerned purely with control over expenditure from the Community budget.

I arranged for the views which I then expressed on this and other proposals to be drawn to the attention of the Governments of other EEC member States, and I hope that it may be possible to consider these ideas, and other aspects of the question of control over Community expenditure, at the meeting of the European Council in December. The views of the Council will, I am sure, be communicated in an appropriate manner to the President of the European Assembly.