§ 10. Mr. Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh, North and Leith)
What assessment she has made of the implications of the proposals from the Convention on the Future of Europe on processes for reaching decisions in the EU on environmental policy. 
§ The Minister for the Environment (Mr. Elliot Morley)
The Convention's proposals would leave the main elements of that process largely unchanged. However, we do not support the proposal to create a single Legislative Council.
§ Mr. Lazarowicz
I am pleased that, in its final proposals, the Convention restored environmental protection as one of the EU's core objectives after its removal from the original draft. Will my hon. Friend assure us, however, that the Government will ensure, in the negotiations to follow, that it remains one of the core objectives? Given the exchange that has just taken place on air fuel, does he agree that there is a strong case for the EU to have a greater role in co-ordinating environmental protection on a Europe-wide basis?
§ Mr. Morley
We think that issues such as air travel and pollution should be dealt with in the Environment Council, but I assure my hon. Friend that the statement about environmental protection in the constitution is considered important and is fully supported by the UK. We shall want to ensure that it remains.
§ Angus Robertson (Moray)
During its analysis of implications of the draft EU constitution, what conclusions has the Department reached on why the concentration of marine biological resources is to be an exclusive competence, while the common agricultural policy is not? The Leader of the House was unable to explain that to the European Scrutiny Committee yesterday; can the Minister explain it to the House today?
§ Mr. Morley
I can certainly give an explanation relating to the common fisheries policy, which has always been an exclusive competence of the Commission. The constitution states the position exactly.
§ Mr. Wayne David (Caerphilly)
Does my hon. Friend agree that the proposals in the draft constitution for the European Union, which include greater powers for the European Parliament, will make further reform of the common agricultural policy more likely?
§ Mr. Morley
I think that there is an argument to be had on that point on both sides. We want to ensure that we do not have a hugely bureaucratic, cumbersome and slow decision-making process in the European Union. We recognise that it is important to involve the European Parliament, and there is a very strong role for co-decision, but it has to be balanced against the need to take quick and efficient decisions without excessive bureaucracy.