23. EUROPEAN NETWORK FOR THE PROTECTION
OF PUBLIC FIGURES
European network for the protection of public figures text proposed by the Presidency following the proceedings of the Article 36 Committee (11/12 April 2002).
|Legal base:||Articles 29, 30(1) and 34(2)(c) EU; consultation; unanimity
|Deposited in Parliament:||3 May 2002
|Basis of consideration:||Minister's letter of 29 May 2002
|Previous Committee Report:||HC 152-xxxi (2001-02), paragraph 6 ( 22 May 2002)
|To be discussed in Council:||13 June 2002
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
23.1 This is a Presidency proposal for a Council Decision
to address the threat of assassination and attacks on dignitaries
visiting Member States by setting up a network of contact points
within national police departments, or other bodies responsible
for the protection of public figures. When we considered it last,
we decided to keep it under scrutiny until we learned whether
the Government had secured the assurances it was seeking on various
aspects of the text.
The Minister's letter
23.2 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) has now written to tell us that
he believes all the specific points have been resolved. The first
related to the Government's wish to have Article 1 (2) amended
to prevent the names of national contact points being published
in an unclassified document such as the Official Journal. The
Minister tells us:
"I am now satisfied that there would be no requirement to
publish the names of individuals nominated as contact points.
It would be up to each Member State to offer information about
contact points as it saw fit; we could, for example, name a post
rather than an individual."
23.3 The second point concerned the Government's wish
to ensure that any information exchanged should be subject to,
or in accordance with, national legislation. The Minister now
"Whilst the definition of information in the document includes
reference to operational and technical data, it must be remembered
that the Network wishes to promote the exchange of such information.
The Government is under no obligation to provide such information
according to the wording of the document but again, has sought
reassurance on this fact. The one area...that makes specific reference
to operational information is covered by the caveat that such
an exchange should be in accordance with national legislation."
23.4 The third point related to the Government's concern
that any exchange of information should be in accordance with
the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals
with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (28 January
1981). The Minister tells us that, as all EU Member States have
signed the Council of Europe Convention, he is now convinced that
there is no need for a reference to it in the document.
23.5 We thank the Minister for his response. Although
he considers that all the points on which the Government sought
clarification have now been resolved, we note that the text itself
has not been substantively amended. Nevertheless, given that the
remit of the proposed network has been considerably limited, we
clear the document.