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EU: Legal Basis of Initiatives

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which current European Union initiatives depend for their legal basis on Articles 94, 95 and 308 of the Treaty Establishing the European Communities; and what is their assessment of the justification of such legal basis.[HL7120]

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

In assessing the legal basis of proposals brought forward by the Commission, the Government follow tests laid down by the European Court of Justice in case law dating back to the 1980s and consider the proposal as a whole, and in particular its aim and content. In the case of Article 308 and in order for it to be used as a legal base for action, the article requires that a proposal be necessary for the attainment of a Community objective, and have unanimous support at the Council. The Government have given an undertaking that where the Commission puts forward a legislative proposal citing Article 308 as its legal base, the Commission’s justification of this choice of legal base will be provided to the Scrutiny Committee.