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Eu Committees

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU advisory committee on social security for migrant workers, (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. [110289]

Detailed information concerning the membership of the Committee is published in the Official Journal of the EU.The Advisory Committee on Social Security for Migrant Workers has met on only one occasion since January 2002, that being on 2 October 2002.On the agenda for that meeting were the Chairman's report on changes to Community legislation, a report on the work of the Administrative Commission by its Chairman, a report on the decisions of the European Court of Justice since the previous meeting, a report on the implementation of the EU/Swiss Agreement on Free Movement of Persons, a proposed amendment of a Recommendation of the Administrative Commission of 12 December 1984, a report on developments in the Technical Commission and a report on the state of play in the process of enlargement of the EU.The Committee has no power to make formal decisions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU advisory committee on equal opportunities for women and men, the number of times and the dates on which it has met since January 2002, the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, the decisions it has made since January 2002 and the means used to communicate these decisions to the House. [110504]

I have been asked to reply.An official from the Women and Equality Unit at the DTI attends the EU Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for women and men. An official from the Equal Opportunities Commission also attends, as does an official from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.The EU advisory committee has met three times since January 2002. It convened on 20 February; 19 June; and 9–10 October.

The 20 February meeting discussed the following items:

The European Employment strategy—draft opinion on the European Employment Strategy.

A new Directive on gender discrimination, working group meeting on 9 January 2002—draft opinion on a new Directive.

The Gender mainstreaming, working group meeting on 3 December 2001.

Draft opinion on gender mainstreaming in Community policies.

Follow-up of the opinions of the Advisory Committee 2001.

The work programme of the Advisory Committee 2002.

The 19 June meeting discussed the following items:

The working group on the Convention and the future of Europe-draft opinion on the Convention-for adoption.

The working group on Gender Budgeting-a report from the meeting on 18 June.

Follow-up opinions of the Advisory Committee.

Contribution from the Advisory Committee to the "European Round Table on Poverty and Social Exclusion", Aarhus. Denmark on 17–18 October 2002.

"Women and decision-making": Input from members/observers on the priority theme of the framework strategy for gender equality for 2003 "women and decision-making"

The feasibility study on a European Gender Institute.

A meeting on gender issues with candidate countries: A draft programme for a meeting with candidate countries, planned to be held on 10 October 2002.

The 9–10 October meeting discussed the following items:

The working group on the Convention and the future of Europe-draft opinion on the Convention.

Follow up of the social inclusion process-draft opinion on the next round on the National Action Plan on social inclusion.

Follow up on opinions of the Advisory Committee.

Meeting with candidate countries: Exchange of views regarding achievements and problems in relation to legislation, national machinery awareness raising initiatives, current developments on gender mainstreaming.

The EU advisory committee on equal opportunities for women and men is not a decision-making body. The Committee's remit is to help the Commission formulate and implement Community measures aimed at promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to encourage the continuous exchange opportunities for women and men and to encourage the continuous exchange of information on experience gained and policies and measures undertaken in the fields in question between the member states and the various actors involved. It produces Opinions and Inputs, whose purpose is advisory only. Member states are not politically or legally committed to these documents.

I will place the minutes to the EU Advisory Committee Meeting in the Library as they become available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU technical committee for the implementation of regulations concerning the free movement and employment of workers, (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. [110535]

The officials who attend Technical Commission are the Senior Executive Officer Manager and an Executive Officer from the International Pension Centre, together with a specialist from the Department's IT provider.Since January 2002, meetings have been held on 5–6 March 2002; 4 June 2002; 24–25 September 2002; 3 December 2002 and 5–6 March 2003.Agenda Items considered were:

Clearance times for pension claims
Development of COWEBS portal (improved web access for migrant workers)
Progress on electronic data exchanges (registration/identity data, pension claims and reimbursement of health claims)
Updating and modernising the use of standard electronic message types for the transfer of data
EU Health Card
Preparation of Annual Report for Administrative Commission
Technical Amendments to Administrative Decision 118 (early exchange of insurance records in pension claims)
Enlargement of EU—effect on Technical Commission work
A number of other technical matters relating to the maintenance of existing electronic exchanges between institutions

The Technical Commission has no power to make formal decisions.