Skip to main content

European Working Groups

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on progress with achieving transparency in respect of the European working groups for which the Department is responsible. [105734]

The Government have long been committed to greater openness in the EU Institutions. This was a key theme of the UK Presidencies in 1992 and 1998. The Government welcomed Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. As a result, more documents are released to the public, while genuinely sensitive documents are given the protection they need.

Much of the Council's work takes place in preparatory bodies, including working groups.

Accountability and transparency of Council business to Parliament are ensured by the scrutiny process, to which the Government are also firmly committed.

We strongly supported the measures agreed at the Seville European Council to make the Council more open when in legislating mode. We remain committed to increasing transparency.

The Future of Europe Convention is also looking at ways to make the EU more open.

My Department represents the UK Government at the Education, Youth and Culture Councils and the associated working groups, where proposals for EU legislation are discussed. It also currently represents UK Government at the Establishment and Services Working Group where the draft proposal for a directive on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications is being negotiated. All proposals before these working groups are subject to the scrutiny of UK Parliament, which is kept fully informed of developments.