Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Eighth Report






Initiative of the Kingdom of Denmark with a view to adopting a Council Decision on the common use of liaison officers posted abroad by the law enforcement agencies of the Member States.

Legal base:

Articles 30 (1)(a)(b)(c), (2)(c) and 34(2)(c)EU; consultation; unanimity


Document originated:

9 July 2002

Deposited in Parliament:

10 July 2002


Home Office

Basis of consideration:

EM of 11 July 2002

Previous Committee Report:


To be discussed in Council:

November 2002

Committee's assessment:

Politically important

Committee's decision:

Not cleared; further information requested




    1. This draft Directive aims to strengthen co-operation between liaison officers posted to third countries and international organisations by the law enforcement agencies of Member States. It builds on, and will replace, Joint Action 96/602/JHA[34] providing for a common framework for the initiatives of the Member States concerning liaison officers. It will also replace Article 47(4) of the Schengen Convention.
    2. The document

    3. The draft Directive aims to encourage a more efficient and cost-effective use of liaison officers through improved communication and better co-ordination between the various organisations involved in combating and preventing drug trafficking, terrorism and organised crime. It provides for a national contact point to be established or designated in each Member State.
    4. The Government's view

    5. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth ) tells us that the Government supports strategies that genuinely improve results achieved by liaison officers, especially when they result in specific intelligence leading to successful operations in the fight against serious crime.
    6. Although the draft Directive does not appear to have any new policy implications for the UK, the Minister reports that there are several aspects of the proposal which the Government will seek to clarify and, possibly, amend. He is concerned that:

    • UK liaison officers should continue to be able to prioritise UK needs above requests from other Member States;

    • any obligations on liaison officers should not impact on existing informal co-operation arrangements;

    • requests to liaison officers should be restricted to serious international crime (not minor domestic matters such as unpaid traffic fines by visitors or stolen cars);

    • the final decision should take proper account of similar initiatives such as the CIREFI[35] group's work on establishing a network of immigration liaison officers.

    1. The Minister tells us that the Danish Presidency aims to put a final version of the text before the Justice and Home Affairs Council for adoption at its November meeting.
    2. Conclusion

    3. We share the Minister's concerns, and will keep the document under scrutiny until we know whether they have been resolved. We also ask for information about the UK's national contact point.


34  OJ L 268, 19.10.1996, p.2. Back

35  Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration. Back

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Prepared 11 November 2002