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Holyrood to present new EU scrutiny procedures

6 January 2011

A new strategy for the Scottish Parliament to monitor legislative developments in the European Union will be presented next Monday when Holyrood plays host to the body that represents local and regional authorities from across the UK in the EU.

Sixty UK representatives of the Committee of the Regions meet in the Parliament's chamber on 10 January and will be given a presentation by Irene Oldfather MSP, convener of the European and External Relations Committee, on the strategy, adopted by MSPs on 9 December.

The Scottish Parliament is the first devolved body in the UK to adopt a formal parliamentary system following the Lisbon Treaty. The system involves formalising the role of the European and External Relations Committee in "horizon-gazing and co-ordinating", with other relevant parliamentary committees appointing European reporters. The Parliament will agree the priority issues to watch from within the longer term European Commission work programmes, and work with the Scottish Government on improving mechanisms for representation of any policy area that might be of importance to the people of Scotland – known as the subsidiarity protocol, or early warning system.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Oldfather said: “In agreeing to this strategy, the Scottish Parliament has taken a practical step forward to improving how we engage with the European Community and ensuring our voice is heard. The Treaty of Lisbon gives the opportunity to influence European Union legislation, albeit later in the process, and we intend to take it. We are pleased to be able to share our strategy with colleagues from across the UK with a view to improving how we all interact with European legislatures.”

Monday's meeting, the first such to be held at Holyrood since 2005, will be followed on Tuesday by a meeting of the UK representatives of the Congress of the Council of Europe.

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