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EU: Article 308

Volume 692: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Triesman on 14 May (WA 5), if Article 308 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) cannot be used by the Community to widen its competencies beyond what is needed to attain the objectives mentioned in the treaty (a) why they did not veto; and (b) how do they justify the following European initiatives, which rely on Article 308 TEC for their legality (i) the seven Council directives and regulations mentioned in the letter of 2 March 2004 from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to the chairman of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee; (ii) the 30 Council directives and regulations passed since 2004 and mentioned in the document placed in the Library of the House on 17 April by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which appear to fall outside the objectives of the TEC; and (iii) proposals for Council decisions and regulations 8205/05, 8210/05, 10774/05, 5865/06, 13852/06 and 16933/06. [HL3909]

In assessing the legal base of proposals brought forward by the Commission, the Government apply criteria laid down by the Court of Justice in case law dating back to the 1980s and consider each proposal as a whole, and in particular its aim and content. Article 308 requires that a proposal be necessary for the achievement of a Community objective and that the Council must act unanimously. 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 its choice of legal base and the Government's assessment of that choice will be provided to the scrutiny committees.