HC Deb 12 July 1999 vol 335 cc55-6W
Mr. Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 18 June 1999, Official Report, column 255, for what reason the reports of working groups on legislative proposals are not published for scrutiny prior to decision. [88681]

Ms Quin

Government Departments inform Parliamentary scrutiny committees of legislative proposals through the submission of Explanatory Memorandums. These outline the draft proposal, the impact on UK law and the Government's policy towards it.

The Council's Rules of Procedure state that deliberations of the Council shall be covered by the obligation of professional secrecy".

This covers preparatory meetings such as COREPER and Council working groups.

The Government are, however, committed to the effective parliamentary scrutiny of EU legislative proposals. Departments therefore usually aim to give the scrutiny committees as full a read-out of negotiations as possible while respecting the Council's confidentiality.

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