Letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) to the Chairman
of the Committee
SPECIAL JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL 13 JULY
I am writing to report the outcome of the Special
Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 13 July 2001. This
Council was called to discuss the security at meetings of the
European Council and other comparable events, in light of events
at Gothenburg on 15 and 16 June 2001. I represented the United
"A" points adopted at JHA Council
There were no Justice and Home Affairs "A"
points on the agenda of this Council.
Points for discussion
There was only one point for discussion, which concerned
policing of summits in the light of events at Gothenburg.
Member States confirmed that citizens have a right
freely to express their opinions and to assemble in a peaceful
manner, rights that are reflected in the European Convention on
Human Rights. Assemblies should be conducted in a manner where
there was no threat to demonstrators' own security or to that
of other citizens or property. Organised acts of violence initiated,
planned and carried out to coincide with public demonstrations
were deplored by the Council and Member States.
The Council and Member States stressed the need for
dialogue with non-governmental organisations, social partners,
civil society, the organisers of public demonstrations and the
authorities of the host country.
A set of operational measures was agreed. These include
a European network of police contacts, use of police spotters,
possible extension of Europol's remit to address violent groups,
better training in the Police College Network framework, rapid
and more systematic exchange of intelligence, use of all available
legal means to prevent travel of those suspected of planning violent
disorder, and swifter judicial assistance and prosecution.
The conclusions recognise the significant contribution
expected from the Police Chiefs Task Force, as proposed by the
A copy of the Council Conclusions (document 10916/01
JAI 82) is enclosed.
I am writing in similar terms to Lord Brabazon of
Tara, Chairman of the European Union Select Committee in the House
of Lords, and I am copying this letter to Dorian Gerhold, Clerk
of the European Scrutiny Committee, and Dr Christopher Johnson,
Clerk of the European Union Select Committee.
31 July 2001