Select Committee on European Scrutiny Second Report

Letter from the Home Secretary (Mr David Blunkett) to the Chairman of the Committee


I am writing to report the outcome of the Special Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 20 September 2001. The Council was called to discuss the response by the EU to the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September.

'A' points adopted at the JHA Council

There were no Justice and Home Affairs 'A' points tabled or accepted at this Council.

'B' points

There were two items on the agenda:

(i) Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating terrorism

Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant and procedures for the surrender of persons between Member States

Commissioner Vitorino introduced these new Commission proposals. The Council welcomed them and the speed with which they had been produced in the wake of the attacks in the USA.

(ii) Fight against terrorism

The Council discussed the wider JHA response to the attacks in the US. The Council identified a number of measures designed to enhance co-operation against terrorism within the EU and for improved co-operation with the USA. Key points included in the conclusions include:

— Welcome for Commission proposals for a European arrest warrant and a common definition of terrorism in national criminal laws. Political agreement by December JHA Council.

— UK/French/Spanish/Belgian initiative on joint investigation teams of Member State police and prosecutors into cross-border crimes. Adoption at December JHA Council.

— Early agreement on mutual recognition of court orders to freeze assets and evidence.

— Immediate establishment of a team of counter-terrorist specialists within Europol, to co-operate closely with US counterparts.

— US/Europol agreement to exchange liaison officers by November.

— Police Chiefs Task Force meeting with US to exchange best practice on airport security, human screening, detection devices.

— Enhanced EU/US judicial co-operation through Eurojust structures.

— An urgent examination of the situation regarding population movements resulting from the attack.

— An urgent examination of the relationship between safeguarding internal security and complying with international protection obligations and instruments.

A copy of the Council Conclusions is enclosed.

2. I am writing in similar terms to Lord Brabazon.

26 September 2001

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