Wednesday 17 June 2015
Energy and Climate Change
Oil and Gas Authority
I wish to inform the House that on 1 April 2015, while Parliament was prorogued, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) established the United Kingdom’s new arm’s-length oil and gas regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). Founding the OGA as an Executive agency of DECC represents a critical step in implementing the recommendations contained in Sir Ian Wood’s 2014 report (Wood review) into maximising economic recovery from the United Kingdom’s continental shelf (UKCS).
Subject to the passage of legislation in this session of Parliament, I expect the OGA to transition from an Executive agency of DECC to a Government-owned company.
Work and Pensions
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 18 June 2015 in Luxembourg. The UK will be represented by the Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud.
There will be a policy debate on the European semester 2015. As part of the discussion, the Council will seek approval of draft Council recommendations on the national reform programmes 2015 of each member state; seek endorsement of the opinions of the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC) for the assessment of the 2015 country-specific recommendations (CSRs) and implementation of the 2014 CSRs and endorsement of the EMCO report on employment performance monitor and benchmarks.
The Council will seek a general approach on the proposals for a Council decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the member states.
The Council will also seek to adopt draft Council conclusions on European Court of Auditors special report No 3/2015 “EU Youth Guarantee: first steps taken, but implementation risk ahead”; and draft Council conclusions on equal income opportunities for women and men: Closing the gender gap on pensions.
The Council will receive progress reports on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures; and the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Under any other business, the Latvian presidency will inform on current legislative proposals, and outcomes of the conferences organised by the Latvian presidency. The Commission will provide information on the national Roma integration strategy—annual implementation report; and the report on the functioning of the transitional arrangements on free movement of workers from Croatia and accompanying Commission staff working document. The Luxembourg delegation will provide information on the work programme of the incoming presidency.