1 Joint Committee on European Affairs Sub-Committee on European Scrutiny __________ Dé Máirt, 9 Mean Fómhair 2003. Tuesday, 9 September 2003. __________ The Sub-Committee met at 9.30 a.m. __________ MEMBERS PRESENT: Deputy M. Harkin, Deputy N. O'Keeffe,* Deputy M. Sexton. Senator P. Bradford, Senator J. Dardis. *In the absence of Deputy M. Mulcahy. DEPUTY G. MITCHELL IN THE CHAIR. 2 Scrutiny of EU Proposals. Chairman: The first item for scrutiny is COM (2003) 278 concerning the establishment of a programme to promote activities to protect the Community's financial interests. This is a technical measure giving a legal basis to the area of the EU's anti-fraud operations. The departmental information notes make clear that this change would have "no practical implications" for Ireland. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. The next item is COM (2003) 333 on persistent organic pollutants. This measure, which is scheduled for discussion at the Environmental Council in December 2003, if passed, will enable ratification of two international agreements which Ireland has signed. The use of these pesticides is currently banned under Community law, but their manufacture is not. The production of these pesticides will be banned as a result of this measure. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny at this time. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.3 refers to COM (2003) 349 regarding fisheries control measures applicable in the north-east Atlantic. The North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission brings together the EC and coastal states of the north-east Atlantic in a forum to encourage international co-operation and consultation regarding fishery resources in the area. In 1998, this commission adopted a scheme of control and enforcement measures which provided for control and reciprocal inspection measures for vessels which fish in NEAFC waters. The scheme was transposed into Community law by Council Regulation No. 2791 of 1999. At its AGM in November 2002, NEAFC amended the scheme to include vessels involved in transhipments and joint fishing operations. Community vessels will henceforth require permits to engage in such activities. These new regulations came into force in February 2003. There are a limited number of Irish vessels operating in the NEAFC area, and while the proposal will involve some additional control 3 and enforcement activities by the Irish authorities, these will be of a relatively minor level. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.4 refers to COM (2003) 352, on the codification of the council regulation establishing the Cohesion Fund. The council regulation establishing the Cohesion Fund dates from 1994 and was amended twice in 1999. This single regulation will preserve the content of the 1994 regulations and its amending regulations in one measure. There are no changes of substance. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.5 refers to COM (2003) 384. This is a technical measure applicable to fishing activities in the north-east Atlantic on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. The Commission's responsibility is at the level of monitoring the inspectors. Irish vessels do not fish in the Antarctic region and this regulation, which transposes these technical measures, does not have direct relevance for Ireland. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.6 refers to COM (2003) 402 concerning the financial instrument for the environment, LIFE. LIFE, which was established in 1992, is one of the main planks of the EU's environment policy. LIFE co-finances projects in three areas: LIFE nature which is aimed at conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna; LIFE environment which is aimed at implementing Community environment policy and legislation on the environment in European Union and candidate countries, and LIFE third countries which is aimed at actions concerning technical assistance activities for promoting sustainable development in third countries bordering the Mediterranean and Baltic seas. In 2001 the Commission proposed a management committee, under Article 11 of the LIFE Regulation 1655/2000 to oversee the implementation of the LIFE programme. The Council rejected this approach and adopted a regulatory committee approach instead. The Commission appealed this decision to the Court of Justice who ruled in the Commission's favour. This measure implements the Court of Justice ruling changing the management structure from a 4 regulatory committee to a management committee. The management of the programme by a management committee would allow the Commission greater direction over it. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.7 refers to 1.7 COM (2003) 407 on smoke flavourings used, or intended for use, in or on foods. This measure proposes that manufacturers of smoke flavourings will be required to have their products assessed for safety by the European Food Safety Authority. Only those smoke flavourings which have been assessed and authorised may be used by food manufacturers. Members may recall when the original version of this proposal first came to the attention of committee in October 2002, the committee recommended that it did not warrant detailed scrutiny. One of the main amendments to the original proposal is that producers will now apply, via the national competent authority. The authority, the FSA in the case of Ireland, will be obliged to respond in writing to smoke flavouring manufacturers which had requested approval for products. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.8 refers to COM (2003) 413 on decentralised co-operation. Decentralised cooperation is an instrument of development aid, utilised by the EU to engage non-state actors in the formulation of development policy. Decentralised co-operation targets the non-state sector in order to create conditions for greater equity for the inclusion of the poor in the benefits of growth and for strengthening the democratic fabric of society. This mechanism supports the activities of trade unions, economic and social partners, local and municipal authorities, universities and the media. It also allows for the participation in international fora of decentralised actors to put forward their needs and to be consulted on development policy. This can particularly apply when official delegations from certain regions may be quite narrow in outlook. The regulation that underpins this development aid instrument - No. 1659 of 1998 - is due to expire on 31 December 2003. The purpose of this current measure is to extend the 1998 5 regulation for a further three year period up to 31 December 2006. Under the terms of the current regulation, it is proposed to allocate a budget of €18 million to this measure over the period 2004-06. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Item No. 1.9 refers to COM (2003) 417 regarding control measures for the fishing of certain stocks of highly migratory fish. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, ICCAT, and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, IOTC, adopted control measures applicable to fishing for certain stocks of highly migratory fish in 2001. The stocks concerned are in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. The EU, as a contracting party to these organisations, is obliged to transpose these regulations into Community law. This measure, amending No. 1936 of 2001, allows for the transposition of the 2001 and 2002 ICCAT and IOTC measures. These measures will require additional reporting by the national authorities to the EU, which forwards it to ICCAT, and stricter rules restraining the landing of species illegally caught. The Department has indicated that it is favourably disposed to the proposal. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Senator Dardis: Does anyone know if this includes Atlantic salmon? No. Chairman: Item No. 1.10 refers to COM (2003) 418 concerning motor vehicle type approval procedures. Framework Directive No. 156 [EEC] of 1970, is the primary directive used by the EU to remove technical barriers to trade for the construction of vehicles. As a framework directive, it allows for the making of further directives regulating the construction of motor vehicles, their systems and individual parts. As the motor industry is one of the most innovative industries in the EU, more than 50 individual directives have been made to take account of technical developments, while the 1970 directive has been amended 18 times. The corpus of 6 these directives has led to compulsory whole vehicle type approval for passenger cars and for motorcycles and mopeds. The stated goal of this proposal is to extend the whole of vehicle concept to commercial vehicles; to recast the existing body of the directive to make it easier to follow by way of a comprehensive set of annexes setting out the technical and administrative elements, and to make provision for a procedure, to amend the technical annexes, of any directive referred to in the framework directive, in order to respond more quickly to technical and scientific change with the aid of a technical committee made up of experts from the member states. This is essentially a technical proposal which, when fully implemented by 2010, should have positive effects on road safety and environmental protection. The Department has indicated that it fully supports the proposal and seeks its implementation at the earliest possible date. It is proposed that this technical measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 412 refers to the conclusion of the fisheries agreement between the EU and Mozambique. This agreement envisages the allocation of funds to the development of the local fishing industry. This protocol is not of major significance for Ireland. France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are traditionally the main players in this area and the fishing opportunities in this protocol will be allocated between these member states. I propose that this does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 424 concerns nutrition and health claims made on foods and proposes to harmonise the provisions laid down in member states which relate to nutrition and health claims made by manufacturers and on labels to help ensure that consumers are provided with information on labels that is clear, accurate and meaningful as to the nutritional value of foods. I understand that the proposal may be adopted during the latter stages of the Irish Presidency as the proposal is at the early stages of discussion in Brussels. It is proposed that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 467 is a proposal to codify the four existing directives covering extraction solvent. Council directive 344 of 1988 is the framework directive which regulates extraction solvents 7 used in the production of foodstuffs and food ingredients. Under this framework directive, four subsequent amending directives were brought forward regulating the use of extraction solvents. In line with the Commission's policy of codifying legislation which has been amended on a number of occasions, this measure has been brought forward. It does not materially alter any of the existing provisions, but simply codifies them in a coherent fashion in one instrument. It is recommended that this measure does not warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 366 is on the system of the Communities' own resources. This proposal aims to incorporate in the financial rules of the Communities, inter alia, certain principals established in the treaties. It would establish the common interest rate in the so-called euro-zone as the basis of the interest rate for payments due for late payment on items such as contributions to the EU budget. It would incorporate the established principle that Ireland, Britain and Denmark would not financially contribute to the costs of policy areas in relation to visas and immigration in which it does not participate. It is proposed that this does not warrant further scrutiny. It should, however, be forwarded to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service for information purposes. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 507 is in regard to balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment. This is a proposal setting out the statistics, information and guidelines on methodology for its collection and presentation by the member states. The Commission argues that it requires relevant and good quality statistical information, given that it has been entrusted with the task of conducting trade negotiations following authorisation by the Council. Henceforth member states providing relevant statistical information to the Commission will be required to provide quality reports on the quality of the data provided. In this context, "quality" refers to level of response and likely implications for the accuracy of the data provided, for example. The CSO has indicated that this proposal would necessitate the reallocation of some extra resources to this part of its work. This is essentially a technical measure that sets out best practice and standards regarding the provision of statistics to the Commission. Therefore, it is proposed that the proposal does not 8 warrant further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. It is proposed that items 1.1 to 1.5, inclusive, do not warrant further scrutiny. The next set of proposals are the documents which it is proposed to forward to sectoral committees for further scrutiny - Items 2.1 to 2.9. Item No. 2.1 is COM (2003) 340 on the setting of standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells. The proposal under consideration touches on some fundamental issues. The proposal itself relates to the procurement, processing and storage of human tissues and cells. However, I understand there are other measures in place and under consideration that could result in the funding of research on human tissues and cells including human embryos. These would involve tests on human embryos created as a result of medically assisted in vitro fertilisation. In this regard, members may be aware that there are three centres in the State providing this facility. I arranged for the proposal for the funding of research to be circulated to members. Members will note that it appears to exclude the possibility of such research in a country where such research is forbidden. I also understand that the proposal is likely to be discussed again at a competitiveness council on 22 December. However, it is more likely that a vote on the proposal will take place some time later this year. In the absence of comprehensive legislation in this area, the constitutional amendment of 1983 is seen as the main source of legal guidance on the issue of research on embryos. In addition, the Medical Council guide to ethical conduct and behaviour offers guidance to the medical profession. Members will be aware that these are currently under review. It is against this backdrop that the sub-committee is considering COM (2003) 340. This is an amended proposal to one which predates the scrutiny process and which was first brought to members' attention in May in the context of a Greek proposal to ban trafficking in human tissues. COM (2003) 340 relates to the setting of minimum standards for the handling and storage of placenta and bone marrow stem cells; reproductive cells - eggs and sperm; foetal tissues and cells, adult and embryonic cells for human application rather than scientific research. In particular, the 9 proposal would establish minimum standards for the training of relevant staff, as well as accrediting and monitoring structures. The proposal, if adopted, will require the transposition into Irish law of standards relating to tissues and cells. It will also necessitate the establishment of a competent authority or authorities for the policing of the relevant measures. Many of the ethical issues relating to the proposal are being considered in a wider context by the Commission on Assisted Reproduction and its conclusion would inform any debate of this issue in Ireland. I understand this report will not be available until later this year. Given the constitutional, administrative, medical, scientific, ethical and other issues surrounding this proposal, it is necessary that it receives some detailed consideration. The Commission on Assisted Reproduction has not yet reported and until it does it is unlikely that legislation will be made here. Therefore, the only law in place is the 1983 constitutional amendment which does not yet have supporting legislation. The Medical Council's guide to ethical conduct and behaviour is therefore relied on in this area and those guidelines are under consideration. The draft amended proposal for a directive before us today deals only with setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells for what are called "human applications". The term used in the first draft was "transplantation" but it was found that this did not cover sufficiently the practices involved. The proposal is concerned with human applications rather than what is called scientific research. In this context I am informed that this is governed by established medical practice in each member state. As I said, on 22 September the National Competitiveness Council of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will meet to consider a proposal for a decision on funding for research on embryos, as this council deals with scientific research issues. The embryos in question will only be those created as a result of in vitro fertilisation, in which a number of embryos are created for implantation and others are retained. Such research will be funded 10 from EU common funding, to which all EU member states contribute. However, the fund will not be used in research in a member state if such research is not permitted in that state. It seems that research could be carried out here, if the Medical Council guidelines were to change, in the absence of legislation. There are important considerations here and the committee considered this in private session. The meeting of the competitiveness council on 22 September is to deal with a Council decision. In the normal course of events Council decisions do not come before the committee for vetting, while draft regulations and draft directives do. The committee's decision this morning was that we wish that any significant or important Council decisions, or any which we feel we should consider, should be brought to the committee for consideration before a Council decision is made. The committee intends to put in place procedures to deal with that. Deputy Sexton: I welcome this proposal, as there is no competent authority in Ireland with responsibility for accrediting tissue establishment. While I understand the broader issue regarding the meeting of the competitiveness council, I ask the Chairman to remind the committee of what we decided on following up the forwarding of such proposals to other committees. This proposal is to be forwarded to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children for further scrutiny. What did we decide about the procedure after it has been forwarded? Is it to come back to us when recommendations have been made? Chairman: In this case the recommendation is that it should come back. It is proposed that the proposal be sent before the Joint Committee on Health and Children for detailed scrutiny and that that committee be asked to report back to the Joint Committee on European Affairs on its findings, because there are other things happening in the competitiveness council. In the normal course of events, if we ask for it to come back it will come back. Otherwise we will receive a report from each committee on what it has done with the various draft directives and regulations we have sent them. Each committee is in the process of giving us an up-to-date 11 report on what it has done. In fact, the committee secretariat does have reports back from committees, but the agenda was so heavy today that we would never have got through them. There will be a report at the next meeting. Deputy Sexton: I have a particular interest in this matter, because I feel that the setting of standards is vitally important in view of the scandals that have taken place - not only in Ireland but also in other European countries - due to the lack of suitable standards, and the fact that we already know that there is no competent authority here with responsibility in this area. It is vitally important that we as a committee push to ensure that this is put in place as quickly as possible. Deputy Harkin: This proposal deals with the setting of standards for quality and safety for donation, procurement etc. of human tissues and cells. Will the Chairman make it clear that this applies only to human applications? The implication of this is that the area would then come within the remit of ethical guidelines that apply in this State. Chairman: That is correct. This is clearly an area about which people have major concerns, and therefore it needs quite close scrutiny and consideration. I propose, therefore, that we forward the proposal to the Joint Committee on Health and Children for detailed scrutiny and that the committee be asked to report back to the Joint Committee on European Affairs on its findings. Is that agreed? Agreed. We will send all the related material to that committee, including information on what is happening at the competitiveness council, so that it might have as broad a picture as possible. No. 2.2 is COM (2003) 356 concerns the unfair commercial practices directive. This is a substantial proposal which aims to establish a single, common and general prohibition of unfair commercial practices which distort consumers' economic behaviour. It proposes a single set of common rules which would replace the existing multitude of national laws and court rulings on commercial practices. The aim of the current proposal is to increase consumer choice, 12 stimulate competition and enlarge the horizons of small and medium businesses in Europe. The directive defines two distinct types of unfair commercial practices in detail - "misleading" and "aggressive", with "misleading" defined as a commercial practice that arises through action or omission and "aggressive" meaning practices arising from harassment, coercion and undue influence. As the directive would ensure EU-wide standards of protection, businesses would only have to comply with the requirements of their country of origin when selling to consumers around the EU. The directive would prevent other member states from imposing additional requirements on them. This is an important proposal, which the Department feels will have a positive impact for consumers. It will involve, however, a significant degree of consultation with interested parties, and the Department will be consulting with the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Consumers' Association of Ireland, RGDATA, IBEC and the advertising industry, among others. The directive provides for a substantial harmonisation of consumer protection throughout the Union. While it is expected that the proposal will come into effect at the beginning of 2005, a significant amount of the detailed consultation negotiation on the harmonisation process may take place during Ireland's Presidency. It is recommended that this measure be referred to the Joint Committee on Enterprise and Small Business. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 371 deals with a declaration system for movement of sums of money across the external borders of the EU. In June of 2002, prior to the establishment of the scrutiny mechanism, the Commission brought forward a draft regulation, No. 328 of 2002, on the prevention of money laundering by means of customs co-operation. The basis of this initiative was a report on Operation Moneypenny - this is real 007 stuff - which was carried out between September 1999 and February 2000 by the customs services of the member states and which suggested that action was required in this area. Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, controls on movements via the financial institutions have been tightened. It is therefore believed that there could be increasing recourse to cash movements to avoid detection. In addition, the introduction of the euro demanded a fresh look at the manner of customs controls 13 and co-operation between the customs authorities of the member states. The 2002 draft regulation addressed this matter by establishing the principle of obligatory declaration of sums of €15,000 or more when entering or leaving the Community's customs territory. It also establishes the automatic right to transmit information on suspected money-laundering operations to the competent authorities. Protracted discussions are expected at the customs union group on this issue. It is also understood that there are differing views held by the Commission's and Council's legal services on the most appropriate article of the EC treaty on which to base the proposal. It is therefore likely that the amending proposal on the prevention of money laundering by means of customs co-operation will take some time to conclude. It is recommended that this measure be referred to the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service for further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Agreed. Senator Dardis: Does this include electronic transfers? Chairman: No, this just involves cash and people who try to avoid being traced by electronic transfers by bringing cash in their pockets. Senator Dardis: I understand that but cash can be transferred electronically also. Official: That was dealt with in a separate directive. This deals primarily with money in one's back pocket. Chairman: It is a separate regulation. No. 24 is COM (2003) 374 establishing measures for the recovery of northern hake stock. This proposal is of major significance to Ireland and will have major implications for white fish fishermen. It would restrict as part of an overall programme the number of days on which white fish fishermen are allowed to fish at sea for 14 hake. Its overall objective is to ensure the safe recovery of hake to levels advised by scientists within five to ten years. The plan covers hake stocks in the Irish Sea, west of Scotland, the Celtic Sea, the North Sea, the west of Ireland channel, Skagerak, Kattegat and the Bay of Biscay. In effect, this regulation seeks to lay down guidelines for the setting of the level of total allowable catches, based on estimations of stock size by scientists with a view to increasing stock size. A regime is also being implemented in the west of Scotland, the Celtic Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the western channel to calculate the overall historical fishing effort of all vessels and reduce this effort level to match the selected TAC and distribute the reduced effort across member states in proportion. The effort limits will be distributed among their vessels by member states within the geographical areas but not between geographical areas in order to conserve stocks. The regulation also provides for improved monitoring, inspection and control measures. The likely implications of this regulation are currently the subject of discussions between the fishing industry, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Marine Institute. It is recommended that this measure be referred for further scrutiny to the Joint Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. Is that agreed? Agreed. No. 25 is COM (2003) 378 concerns the application of social security schemes to employed and self-employed persons moving within the community and the simplification of such procedures. Currently under the E111 travel documentation system, which members will be familiar with, an individual from Ireland on holiday or temporary stay in an EU member state is entitled to immediate necessary care if he or she gets ill. The immediate treatment will be sufficient in the short term to deal with the problem until the individual can return home. A pensioner who gets ill or requires medical care under the travel documentation system for that type of traveller is entitled to necessary care. Necessary care is deemed to be the same level of care as a citizen of the country would receive. In this instance the country where the illness is treated bills the parent country of the 15 pensioner for the costs involved. This current proposal, which seeks to amend the regulation underpinning the current system, seeks to align the entitlements of all persons entitled to health care when on a temporary stay in another member state. The Commission, in its proposal, seeks to align the different entitlements of all the categories into a common definition which refers to "benefits in kind which become medically necessary during their stay, taking into account the nature of the benefits and the expected length of stay." This proposed regulation is anticipated to be finalised during the Irish presidency. This draft regulation is, I understand, at an early stage of negotiation. Detailed clarification regarding the interpretation and application of this measure by the health care providers in all member states remains to be finalised. It is recommended that this measure be referred to the Joint Committee on Health and Children for scrutiny. Is that agreed? Deputy Sexton: I agree that it be forwarded to the Joint Committee on Health and Children but I have a concern that maybe I should express. The aim of the proposal is to align the existing system and its different levels of entitlements to benefits. My concern is that the aim of the proposal should be to align upwards. In other words, various EU countries clearly have different standards of health care. I am a little concerned about the wording, "benefits in kind which become medically necessary during their stay, taking into account the nature of the benefits." Who determines that? I just have a little worry. While it would appear that employed and self-employed people are entitled to immediate necessary care, those in the older categories only appear to be entitled to necessary care. Perhaps we should express that concern when forwarding this proposal to the other committee. Care should be provided to the highest standard rather than just being aligned to an average. Chairman: I do not think it deals so much with standards. Somebody who is not a senior citizen would get immediate treatment or immediate necessary care, whatever that happens to be. A senior citizen or pensioner would get necessary care. In the case of that necessary care, 16 the member state giving the care would then bill the member state of which the senior citizen is a citizen. Deputy Sexton: Is that not the existing situation with the E111? Is the change not because----- Chairman: That is the existing situation. Deputy Sexton: What is being proposed is a new wording, "benefits in kind?" However, it is the taking into account of the nature of the benefits that worries me. Chairman: Yes, the Deputy has a very valid point. What the Commission is proposing to do is to introduce an EU health insurance card. Once this is introduced it can be restricted to certain categories. I was looking at this draft and there are issues around the point the Deputy is making which do need to be considered. They could have restrictive implications for certain types of EU travellers, and that is a valid concern which does need to be addressed. We might draw the attention of the other committee to that when we forward the proposal on to it. Deputy Harkin: I have just two comments on this. First, the text refers to a "temporary stay." I wonder how that will be defined. Is it three months or six months? It is not critical but is nonetheless something that will have to be defined. Second, what are the implications for Irish people who avail of private health insurance? Those issues will need to be teased out. Chairman: They are very relevant issues. In the case of a person who is more long-stay I think some sort of residency documentation is required to show that one is long stay. In the case of a person who is simply a traveller, one's plane tickets would suffice to get the necessary treatment. These are all relevant issues. Any of these regulations that are drafted for EU health 17 insurance cards and the like have the potential to delimit and rule out existing facilities so they do need to be examined in some detail. We should draw the attention of the other committee to these issues in a covering letter when we forward the details. Is that agreed? Agreed. I wish to clarify one point. Is there not another committee that deals with issues relating to social security schemes other than the Joint Committee on Health and Children? Which committee covers the Department of Social and Family Affairs? We should refer it to both committees and let them decide between them. The next proposal, COM (2003) 379, seeks to build upon an existing 1993 regulation, including subsequent technical modifications, on the shipment of hazardous waste. This proposal is in the early stages of evolution and it is therefore likely that consultation by the Department will take place later in the year when the final outlines of the proposal will be clearer. Given the importance of the environmental issues at play it is proposed that the proposal be forwarded to the Joint Committee on Environment and Local Government for further scrutiny when the administrative and cost implications of the proposal are clearer. Is that agreed? Agreed. Shipment of waste is the issue. COM (2003) 425 deals with the protection of animals during transport. This proposal is of major significance as it repeals the existing Council directives on animal transport and embodies new rules in a regulation in order to improve harmonisation among member states. Council directives are made and then applied in member states whereas Council regulations apply across member states. It is relevant in this instance that a directive has been replaced by a regulation. The Commission has indicated that it is engaged in an extensive round of consultations leading up to this proposal. One of the key aspects of the proposal is that transporters operating long distance journeys will be granted a specific authorisation which will be possible only following precise conditions and for a limited period. Such transporters will be registered in a national electronic database. Higher standards, in particular for ventilation and drinking facilities for the vehicles, are proposed on the basis of the opinion of the scientific committee. 18 All livestock vessels operating from the Community ports will be subjected to specific requirements and a certificate of approval. A higher space allowance on the truck applies for long-distance journeys than for short journeys. There will be shorter travelling periods and longer resting periods for the animals on board vehicles but to avoid the most stressful operations of loading and unloading, the use of staging points is not foreseen by the proposal due to the demonstrated risk to the health of the animals. A new route plan administrative procedure will make it compulsory for the operators systematically to check the consignment at the place of destination, to keep records of the results and to report any anomaly to officials. For the first time in EU legislation the proposal extends provisions on animal protection to all places where animals are loaded, unloaded and handled, including livestock markets. In particular, livestock markets will be subjected to specific requirements regarding the training of personnel handling animals. Several elements of this proposal, specifically to reduce stocking densities and ceiling heights in vehicles, along with the reduction in maximum journey times prior to rest periods on journeys lasting more than nine hours, have the potential to impact adversely on the economics of the Irish trade in livestock. This proposal might be finalised during the Italian presidency. The Joint Committee on Agriculture and Food raised this matter with Commissioner Byrne yesterday. It is recommended that this measure be referred to the Joint Committee on Agriculture and Food for further scrutiny. Is that agreed? Senator Dardis: In addition to the possible economic consequence of this, there could be an adverse animal welfare consequence, which might not be immediately apparent. It is important that we protect animal welfare and that animals are transported in the best possible condition. This has an economic rationale too in that they arrive in the correct condition for the people who are buying them. One of the proposals is that staging posts would be stopped and that animals would have to be kept on the transporter, albeit that they would have more room but that is questionable. From the point of view of transmission of animal diseases it may be better to contain them in the vehicle, nevertheless this has consequences that need to be addressed. 19 Deputy Harkin: I concur with that. It seems that animals would remain on the trucks for the duration of the journey which does not make sense. For example, consider the high temperatures over recent months, particularly on mainland Europe. People concerned about the welfare of animals will question that. I do not know how these systems operate or how animals could be properly watered and fed on long journeys in the confines of a truck. Chairman: As this proposal raises health and economic issues that need to be considered in detail by the Joint Committee on Agriculture and Food we will send it there for detailed consideration. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 443 covers co-operation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. Proposal No. 356 concerning unfair commercial practices which distort consumers' economic behaviour has been recommended for detailed scrutiny and is already before the committee. It is recommended that this current measure be referred for scrutiny also and that both should be considered by the Joint Committee on Enterprise and Small Business. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 468 refers to the application of social security schemes to employed and selfemployed persons and members of their families moving within the Community. Regulation No. 140871 was introduced in 1971 as part of EU measures to facilitate the free movement of persons within the Community. The regulation sets out in particular which aspects of the social security system of the member state are transferable across the Community. Currently, 12 social security benefits or payments are listed in the annex to this regulation as nontransferrable or non-exportable from Ireland. Each member state has included specific benefits on the non-export list. In regard to Ireland, the following allowances are non-exportable: unemployment assistance, old age and blind pensions, widows' pensions, disability allowance, one-parent family payment, carer's allowance, family income supplement, mobility allowance, infectious diseases 20 maintenance allowance, domiciliary care allowance, blind welfare allowance, disabled person's rehabilitation allowance. The current proposal from the Commission would see the removal of all but the first four of these allowances from the list of non-exportable benefits, that is unemployment assistance, old age and blind pensions, widow's pensions and disability allowance. The Department of Social and Family Affairs has said that, in the absence of changes to the rules governing the payment of these allowances, the implementation of the current proposal could have major financial implications for Ireland if the practice of welfare shopping within the EU became widespread. Several member states have argued at working groups that many of the current non-exportable allowances have arisen due to specific social needs in individual member states and that therefore they should not be exportable. It is recommended that this measure be forwarded to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs for detailed scrutiny. It is also recommended that this measure be forwarded for information to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children as several of the benefits to which this proposal refers fall within the remit of that Department. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 401 concerns tariff quotas for certain agricultural and fishery products originating in Europe. This measure was adopted on 21 July 2003. The goal of the regulation, by way of amending regulation 992 of 1995, is to implement the agreement negotiated with Norway on bilateral trade preferences for agricultural products, including certain cheeses, fruit and vegetables, ornamental plants and meat. This agreement was concluded on 16 June 2003. It provided for new tariff arrangements that were to come into effect on 1 July 2003. The proposal was approved as a matter of urgency by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 21 July following unanimous agreement at the EFTA working group on 15 July, in order to give effect to the changes on tariffs from 1 July. This did not come before for us for scrutiny. It is proposed, however, to note the document. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 382 refers to the sale, supply and export to Burma-Myanmar of equipment which might be used for internal repression of terrorism and freezing the funds of certain persons 21 related to important governmental functions in that country. This regulation follows from the CFSP common position on Burma COM (2003) 297/CFSP which was scrutinised by the subcommittee on 12 June 2003. The common position-regulation strengthens the measures therein, in response to the continued deterioration of the political situation in Burma. The measures adopted widen the arms embargo to include, "technical training and assistance of non-humanitarian aid shall be suspended". As members will be aware, a military junta rules Burma. The opposition leader and Nobel Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has had various restrictions placed on her activities for more than ten years. This is a response to the situation in Burma. It is proposed to note the measure. Is that agreed? Agreed. It is noted and welcomed. COM (2003) 457 concerns the countervailing duty and collecting definitively the provisional duty imposed on imports of certain electronic microcircuits known as dynamic random access memories - DRAMs - originating in the Republic of Korea. Following a complaint in July 2002 by a Community producer that imports of DRAMs from Korea were being subsidised, the Commission initiated an investigation. That investigation found that one Korean producer had benefited from subsidies, and that a countervailable duty should be imposed. This regulation provides for the imposition of a countervailing duty of 34.9% on imports into the EU from the Korean producer concerned, and to collect definitively the provisional duties imposed in April when preliminary findings were pointing to such subsidisation. It is proposed to note the measure. Is that agreed? Agreed. Senator Dardis: I understood that "drams" was a term that applied exclusively to Scotch whisky? Chairman: Yes, a "wee dram". The next proposal is a Title IV proposal under Commission document 2003/427. The proposal concerns the law applicable for non-contractual obligations contained in Rome II. This is a title 22 for a proposal that seeks to harmonise the rules applicable for non-contractual obligations, both civil and commercial. The proposal covers civil liability for damage caused to others, by, for example, defective products, unfair competition, violation of privacy or violation of the environment. Rome II draws on the previous Rome and Brussels Conventions and sets out the law applicable in the situations concerned. It is understood that many aspects of this proposal remain to be finalised. The first working group on this proposal will take place in late September when the likely implications of the proposal should become clearer. It is proposed to note the Title IV proposal and forward it to the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights for its information. Is that agreed? Agreed. The following proposals are Common Foreign and Security Policy measures to be noted by the sub-committee. COM (2003) 472 concerns a joint action on non-proliferation and disarmament in the Russian Federation. The programme that is financially assisted through this measure coordinates projects in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament of chemical biological and nuclear weapons as well as export controls related to such materials. The programme works in co-operation with member states in assisting the Russian Federation to decommission weapons, including chemical weapons. It is proposed to note the measure. Is that agreed? Agreed. The usual position is that CFSP measures are notified to the Chair beforehand if they are confidential. I do not know if these ones are. However, they are usually notified in advance because they are dealt with in a specific way as part of the protocol between the sub-committee and the Department of Foreign Affairs. COM (2003) 482 concerns the application of specific measures to combat terrorism and repealing Common Position (2003) 402/CFSP. This CFSP measure is an amended list of persons, groups and entities believed to be involved in terrorist acts. The sub-committee has scrutinised these lists on a regular basis, most recently at its meeting of 10 July 2003. 23 Members will recall that EU states, through police and judicial co-operation, afford the widest possible assistance to fellow member states in preventing and combating terrorist acts, with particular regard to those persons, groups and entities listed in this measure. It is proposed to note the measure. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 495/CFSP concerns the Common Position on Iraq. This Common Position is at the origin of COM (2003) 357 that was scrutinised by the sub-committee at its meeting on 10 July 2003. The measure follows from UN Security Council Resolution 1483 that replaces earlier restrictive measures relating to Iraq. It also provides for a continuing ban on trade in military materials with Iraq. The measures in place ban the trade in or transfer of Iraq's cultural heritage or in petroleum products, if payments for such petroleum products are not deposited into the Development Fund for Iraq. It also covers the freezing of all funds and economic resources of former President Hussein, immediate members of his family and of senior officials of his regime. It is proposed to note the measure. Is that agreed? Agreed. COM (2003) 357/CFSP concerns joint action appointing the EU Special Representatives for the Middle East peace process. The Council joint action under review is similar to a number of measures relating to the mandates of EU Special Representatives considered by the sub-committee. It extends the mandate of the Special Representative in the Middle East and, following the departure of Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, appoints Ambassador Marc Otte to the post. A copy of Ambassador Otte's CV is attached for information. It is proposed to note the measure. Is that agreed? Agreed. I thank colleagues for their co-operation. We had 32 measures to deal with due to the recess. Some of these were important and we got through them satisfactorily. Business of Sub-Committee. 24 Chairman: The draft 18th report of the sub-committee has been circulated to members. It is proposed that the report as circulated be agreed and laid in the Library. Is that agreed? Agreed. Correspondence has been received from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government seeking an extension of the four week deadline in which to submit an information note on COM (2003) 370. This note has been circulated to the sub-committee. I propose to note this correspondence and ask the secretariat to indicate that the information note should be submitted as soon as possible. Is that agreed? Agreed. The sub-committee adjourned at 10.50 a.m. until 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, 2 October 2003.