Select Committee on European Scrutiny Second Report








Draft Agreement between the Republic of Poland and the European Police Office on co-operation in combating crime.

Draft Agreement between Europol and Poland.

Draft Co-operation Agreement between the Republic of Hungary and the European Police Office.

Draft Agreement between Europol and Hungary.

Draft Agreement between Europol and Estonia.

Draft Agreement between Europol and Slovenia.

Legal base: (a) to (f): Articles 42, 10 and 18 of the Europol Convention and the Council Decision of 27 March 2000 authorising the Director of Europol to enter into negotiations on agreements with certain third states and non-EU related bodies
Documents originated: (a) 29 March 2001
(b) —
(c) 19 March 2001
(d) to (f) —
Deposited in Parliament: (a) and (c) 30 April 2001
(b) and (d) to (f) 23 August 2001
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: EMs of 8 October 2001
Previous Committee Report: None
To be discussed in Council: October 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: (All) Cleared


24.1 Agreements between Europol and third states or non-EU bodies are intended to enhance co-operation in combating serious forms of international crime, in particular through the exchange of both strategic and operational information. Before the Director of Europol can begin negotiations, a data protection report relating to the state or body in question must be submitted. These are considered by the Europol Management Board and the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) which monitors the activities of Europol in respect of data protection issues. Following negotiations, the Management Board and the JSB also consider each draft Agreement.

24.2 The previous Committee cleared the data protection reports for Poland and Hungary in January[65] and those for Estonia and Slovenia in March.[66]

The documents

24.3 Documents (a) and (c) are early versions of the draft Agreements with Poland and Hungary respectively, and have been superseded by documents (b) and (d). The ADD 1 annexes to each document contain the JSB's opinion in relation to the draft Agreement. The COR1 annex to document (e), the draft Agreement with Estonia, contains an amendment to that Agreement.

24.4 The draft Agreements all follow the same format and contain provisions about areas to which the Agreement applies; points of contact, competent authorities, and arrangements for liaison officers; the supply of information to and from Europol; and procedures for assessing, correcting and ensuring the security of data.

24.5 In each of the ADD 1 annexes, the JSB states that "no obstacles exist" which might prevent the Council from permitting the Director of Europol to conclude the agreement. In the draft Agreement with Estonia (document (e)), the JSB notes that its previous opinion found that non-residents were not covered by the Estonian Data Protection Act. In case this problem has not been addressed, it puts forward an amendment to the draft Agreement making an explicit reference to non-residents in the relevant Article. COR 1 of the draft Agreement contains this amendment.

The Government's view

24.6 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Anti-drugs Co-ordination and Organised Crime at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) tells us that the Government considers each of the draft Agreements to be important in the fight against organised crime. He says that the Government is content with the agreements, taking account of the JSB views and, in the case of Estonia, the proposed amendment.

24.7 In relation to the timetable, the Minister says:

    "One other Member State has yet to lift its Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve. We expect this to happen within the next two weeks. The proposals are then likely to be taken as A points at a subsequent Council. Should this happen the Government intends to lift its own reserve in order not to delay things further."


24.8 We are pleased that the Joint Supervisory Board's opinions have been provided with these draft Agreements and that notice is being taken of them, as evidenced by the amendment in the case of Estonia.

24.9 We can understand that, in the current situation, there is a wish to conclude these Agreements swiftly. Nevertheless, we do not appreciate being told that the Government plans to lift the scrutiny reserve as soon it becomes the only Member State which has not done so. Given the recent receipt of the Government's Explanatory Memoranda, this is the first opportunity we have had to consider the documents. If they have already been taken as "A" points, we shall expect the Minister to write to us with a fuller explanation of his reasons for lifting the scrutiny reserve.

24.10 We clear all the documents.

65  (21907)14147/00 and (21908) 14148/00; see HC 28-iv (2000-01), paragraph 10 (24 January 2001). Back

66  (22179) - and (22180) - ; see HC 28-ix (2000-01), paragraph 14 (21 March 2001). Back

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