Select Committee on European Scrutiny Eleventh Report


COM(01) 11

Commission Communication: preventing fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment.

Legal base:
Document originated:9 February 2001
Forwarded to the Council: 12 February 2001
Deposited in Parliament: 9 March 2001
Department:Home Office and HM Treasury
Basis of consideration: Ministers' letter of 7 January 2002
Previous Committee Report: HC 152-x (2001-02), paragraph 8 (12 December 2001)
To be discussed in Council: No date set
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared (decision reported on 12 December 2001)


  7.1  We cleared this proposal for an action plan for the prevention of cross-border fraud by organised crime groups using stolen or non-cash payment instruments in December. However, we asked the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ruth Kelly) to explain why it had taken them over nine months to produce their joint Explanatory Memorandum on the document. We also reminded them that we were still waiting for their explanation for the late submission of the Explanatory Memorandum on the Pericles programme.[7] (This has now been received.)

The Ministers' letter

  7.2  The Ministers have now responded. They say:

    "We very much regret the delay in producing a Memorandum on this document. As with the Pericles proposal, this was caused by the need to determine where the main policy interests lie and to identify suitably qualified and experienced officials to take work forward on the proposal in the longer term. As you know, both the Treasury and Home Office have some responsibilities in this area, while the actual implementation of the Commission's Action Plan in the UK will fall mainly to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, Regulators and the private sector. We have been anxious to ensure that issues covered by the Commission Communication do not fall between organisations, but are properly addressed by the most appropriate officials, while avoiding duplication of effort. Unfortunately this was not finally resolved until October.

    "The delays to the provision of EMs on both this proposal and the Pericles Programme have served to highlight the difficulties involved in apportioning responsibility for EU proposals which do not fall neatly within departmental policy boundaries. Officials in both departments are considering how to put in place procedures to avoid a recurrence in the future. My officials will write to the Clerks of both Committees in due course, informing them of the procedures which have been agreed."


  7.3  We thank the Ministers for their joint letter. Their explanation is (not surprisingly) much the same as that for the late submission of the Explanatory Memorandum on the Pericles programme. However, it is encouraging to learn that officials are considering how to tackle the difficulties involved in apportioning responsibility for EU proposals which do not fall within departmental policy boundaries. We look forward to learning about the outcome of their deliberations, and to receiving any future joint Explanatory Memoranda within the agreed timescales.

  7.4  We have already cleared the document.

7  (22469) 9690/01; see HC 152-vi (2001-02), paragraph 7 (14 November 2001) and HC 152-xi (2001-02), paragraph 8 (9 January 2002). Back

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