Thursday, 12 February 2004

Questions (111, 112)

Joe Higgins

Question:

107 Mr. J. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will put in the public domain documents being presented by the Government to the EU Article 133 committee meeting to be held in Dublin on 20 February 2004; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4389/04]

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Joe Higgins

Question:

108 Mr. J. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the matters discussed and conclusions reached at the EU Article 133 committee meeting to be held in Dublin on 20 February 2004 will be put in the public domain; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4390/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 108 together.

Documents and reports presented to and circulated for discussion at 133 committee meetings are internal negotiating documents in the context of international multilateral trade talks and as such are restricted to members of the committee. In accordance with EU treaty provisions trade policy is a Community competence. This means that the European Commission initiates proposals which are submitted to the 133 consultative committee, as designated by the treaty, prior to their submission for approval by Council.

Hence, documents circulated for discussion at the 133 committees contain information communicated in confidence to officials within an international institution representative of all EU member states.

As the Article 133 committees are created under the EU treaty provisions as consultative bodies to the European Commission, it is not the practice to publicise their discussions.