HC Deb 13 June 2002 vol 386 cc1359-61W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the mandate of the Management Committee of the common

organisation of agricultural markets for oils and fats is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement. [55249]

Mr. Morley

The mandate of the Management Committee for oils and fats is to assist the Commission in the management of the common organisation of the market for oils and fats as established by Article 37 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 136/66. The Committee has met 17 times over the last 12 months and one official attends; the cost of this attendance to public funds over the last year was £8,500. The Committee considers matters relating to the management of the market for fats and oils.

Together with Member States, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission". As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February (Com (2001) 783 Final). As part of the review process, the UK Government has encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agenda and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

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