CO-OPERATION IN PROCEEDINGS FOR ROAD TRAFFIC
OFFENCES AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF RELATED FINANCIAL PENALTIES
Explanatory Report for the agreement on co-operation in proceedings
for road traffic offences and the enforcement of financial penalties
imposed in respect thereof.
Initiative of the Federal Republic of Germany for a Council act
establishing an agreement on co-operation between the Member States
of the European Union in proceedings for road traffic offences and the
enforcement of financial penalties.
||(b) Articles 31(a) and 34(2)(d) EU; consultation; unanimity
|Deposited in Parliament:
||(b) 19 April 2001
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 12 November and Minister's letter of 14 November 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||(a) HC 34-xxviii (1998-99), paragraph 20 (20 October 1999)
|To be discussed in Council:
||(Both) Cleared, but further information requested
14.1 These documents are both concerned with
enforcing financial penalties resulting from road traffic offences
committed by EU citizens and residents in an EU Member State other
than their own.
14.2 Document (a) is the Explanatory Note for
the Schengen Agreement on co-operation in proceedings for road
traffic offences and the enforcement of financial penalties imposed
in respect thereof which was adopted at the final meeting
of the Schengen Executive Committee in April 1999. Although
the Agreement was not binding on the UK, since it was concluded
before the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Government
announced its intention of applying to participate in the Agreement,
and in negotiations on the Explanatory Note.
14.3 When the previous Committee considered document
(a), in October 1999, it decided to retain the scrutiny reserve
until there was more information about the process of negotiations.
14.4 Document (b), which was deposited in April,
is a German proposal designed to replace the Agreement on co-operation
in proceedings for road traffic offences and the enforcement of
financial penalties imposed in respect thereof. In his Explanatory
Memorandum, the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State at the
Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) tells us that the Agreement was
never implemented, since it was considered that it could not be
directly incorporated into the Schengen acquis as it also
applied to Iceland and Norway.
14.5 The proposal sets out the circumstances
in which transfer of enforcement may be requested, and those in
which requests may be refused. It also provides for the amendment
of the minimum amount to be enforced. Article 24 extends the scope
of the Agreement to Norway and Iceland.
The Government's views
14.6 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 12 November,
the Minister tells us:
"In principle, the Government
supports the aims of the draft Agreement. It will be useful in
improving road safety across the EU and ensuring that drivers
who infringe road traffic laws of other EU Member States do not
escape punishment by returning to their state of nationality or
residence. Further, the Government considers that the instrument's
aims are broadly consistent with the principle of mutual recognition;
indeed, the draft Agreement corresponds to Measure 17 of the Programme
of Measures to implement the principle of mutual recognition [of
decisions in criminal matters].
"The Government considers that the draft Agreement
provides appropriate safeguards for defendants... The Government
notes, however, that Article 8(1)(a) introduces the principle
of dual criminality; the Government considers that dual criminality
requirements are not compatible with the principle of mutual recognition."
14.7 The Minister reports that the Belgian Presidency
has decided to give priority to the draft Framework Decision on
the application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial
over the German proposal.
14.8 It is unacceptable that the previous
Committee's request for information, which was made over two years
ago, has not been met until now and then in an Explanatory
Memorandum on another document which was deposited over six months
ago. We recognise that the failure to implement the Schengen Agreement
and the lack of priority accorded to the successor proposal may
have made the need to respond to the Committee seem less urgent.
Nevertheless, the Committee should have been kept informed of
the situation. We demand that the Minister explain the delay in
relation to both documents.
14.9 In relation to the proposals themselves,
document (a) has been rendered redundant by the decision not to
implement the Schengen Agreement. Document (b), which may, or
may not, finally arrive on a Council agenda, appears to be a satisfactory
replacement for the earlier text. We are therefore content to
clear both documents.
55 (21783) 9737/5/00; see HC 23-xxx (1999-2000), paragraph
7 (22 November 2000). Back
10710/01; the Committee is to consider this document at its meeting
on 28 November 2001 Back