Select Committee on European Scrutiny Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from the Minister of State at the Home Office (Angela Eagle MP) to the Chairman of the Committee (Mr Jimmy Hood MP)


  The purpose of this letter is to provide a further update on several items of business from the 28-29 May JHA Council, on which Barbara Roche wrote to you and the Leader of the House on 6 June 2001, and on which I wrote to you and your sister committee in the House of Lords on 6 September.

  Barbara Roche's letters of 6 June to the Leaders of both Houses reported on four "A" points on which the Government had signalled its intention to override the Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve resolution but where there had been a short postponement before adoption. These were:

  (i)  Point 16 — the Draft Council Resolution on law enforcement operational needs with respect to public telecommunications networks and services;

  (ii)  Point 28 — Agreement between Interpol and Europol;

  (iii)  Point 29 — Agreement between Norway and Europol;

  (iv)  Point 30 — Agreement between Iceland and Europol.

  I am sorry that we have not previously informed you of developments on these four points. The three Europol agreements were approved at the Transport and Telecommunications Council on 27-28 June 2001. The Draft Council Resolution on law enforcement operational needs with respect to public telecommunications networks and services has not been submitted to a Council, and remains outstanding.

Barbara Roche's letter of 6 June to the Leaders of the Houses also reported that the United Kingdom had maintained its Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve on three "B" points at the JHA Council on 28-29 May 2001, but had made it clear that it would lift the reserve when the points came up for formal adoption. These points were:

  (i)  Directive defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, movement and residence;

  (ii)  Framework decision on the strengthening of the penal framework to prevent the facilitation of unauthorised entry and residence;

  (iii)  Council Directive supplementing the provisions of Article 26 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 (formerly titled "carrier penalties").

  The two instruments on facilitation have not yet been adopted, and are expected to be submitted to the JHA Council on 6-7 December. The Directive on carrier penalties was adopted at the Transport and Telecommunications Council on 28 June 2001, and was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 10 July 2001 (L 187 page 45).

  My letter of 6 September reported, in the section relating to the Council Resolution on DNA (paragraph 10), that we had no record of the Committee's letter of 7 February. I now understand that you did not write a letter, but that the Committee's usual weekly reports on 7 February included a report on the DNA proposal. The officials concerned had not understood that they were required to respond to this report; this clearly explains the delay in your receiving a response. I am very sorry for this confusion. Procedures are now in place to ensure that similar incidents do not happen in future. I have also stressed the importance of responding to each committee separately on the issues they raise and not assuming that a letter to one committee will automatically address concerns expressed by the other.

  I am copying this letter to Dorian Gerhold, and I am writing in similar terms to Lord Brabazon. A copy also goes to Les Saunders in the Cabinet Office.

29 October 2001

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