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
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
|Legal base:||(b) Articles 31(a) and 34(2)(d) EU; consultation; unanimity
|Deposited in Parliament:
||(b) 19 April 2001|
|Basis of consideration:
||Minister's letter of 11 December 2001|
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 152-vii (2001-02), paragraph 14 ( 21 November 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||(Both) Cleared (decision reported on 21 November 2001)
5.1 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. When we considered them in November, we cleared both.
We recognised that document (a) had been rendered redundant by
the decision not to implement the Schengen Agreement for which
it was the Explanatory Report. Document (b), which we considered
to be a satisfactory replacement for the earlier text, will now
probably be superseded by the draft Framework Decision on the
application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial
5.2 We were seriously concerned, however, about the long
delay in supplying Explanatory Memoranda for these documents
over two years in respect of document (a) and six months in the
case of document (b). We demanded an explanation from the Minister.
The Minister's letter
5.3 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) has now written to us as follows:
"I apologise on behalf of the officials concerned for
the delay in submitting the Explanatory Memorandum. This was originally
due for submission on 2 May, but was delayed due to the General
Election and was then due for submission after the summer recess.
Unfortunately, further work on the EM was delayed due to pressures
of work arising after 11 September. Meanwhile, no negotiations
took place on the document because the Presidency determined that
it was of insufficient priority. The Home Office Scrutiny co-ordinator
contacted the Committee Clerks to apologise for the delay and
said that we would submit the EM as soon as possible. However,
I agree that delays of this kind are unacceptable.
"The Committee was also concerned about the delay in providing
further information on the Explanatory Report, deposited in 1999.
As there had been no negotiations on this document we did not
think it necessary to provide further information. However, I
am sorry that the Committees were not made aware of this until
last month. Staff in the European and International Unit and in
policy Units are at your disposal to provide information to the
Committee Clerks on the progress of negotiations on any document
which has been deposited for scrutiny."
5.4 We thank the Minister for his reply and for his
apology. While we recognise that the terrible events of 11 September
resulted in a considerable pressure of work for the Department,
we are still surprised that it took officials so long to submit
the relatively short Explanatory Memorandum on document (b).
5.5 In relation to the Explanatory Memorandum on document
(a), the explanation is unsatisfactory. Our weekly reminders to
Departments of remaining business before the Committee indicated
that this document had not been cleared. It was therefore incumbent
on the Department to provide us with information so that we could
clear it. Being "at our disposal" to provide information
is insufficient in the case of an uncleared document: officials
need to be proactive.
5.6 We have already cleared both documents.
10710/01; see HC 152-viii (2001-02), paragraph 2 ( 28 November