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Eu Committees

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU committee on the introduction of a uniform format for visas, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110278]

The Visa Working Party does not have a fixed membership, but consists of delegates drawn from each of the 15 European Union member states. Since 17 April 2003, delegates from the 10 EU accession states have also been invited to attend most EU committees, including the Visa Working Party, as active observers. The Visa Working Party holds a regular meeting once a month, and occasional extraordinary meetings are held as necessary. It discusses a range of EU-related visa matters relating mainly to the development of a common visa policy under the Schengen acquis, including the introduction of a uniform format visa. This forms part of the process of negotiation which culminates in legislative proposals being considered by the Council of Ministers. Domestically, such legislative proposals are submitted to Parliament under established scrutiny procedures and are considered and reported on by the House of Lords European Union Committee, the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, and the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland.