Letter from the Rt Hon Michael Howard, QC, MP, Home
Secretary, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee
I understand that there has been some discussion between
officials here and advisers to the Committee about the state
of play on the Europol implementing regulations and our intentions
with regard to submitting texts for scrutiny.
As you will see from the attached summary, the regulations
which have been discussed so far are largely concerned with the
administrative detail which needs to be settled for Europol to
function as an international organisation: staff conditions of
service, financial regulations and the rules of procedure of Europol's
Management Board. A number of the texts also reflect Europol's
position as a criminal intelligence office: rules to protect
the confidentiality of its work and rules governing the handling
of data in Europol's analytical work files. I would, however,
underline the fact that, as implementing measures, there is no
scope for these regulations to move outside the framework that
has already been agreed within the context of the Convention.
Our view so far has been that the drafts pursued by the Europol
Working Group do not fall within the criteria for submitting
Title IV documents for scrutiny. I do, however, recognise that
there is an important body of work being undertaken in this area
and I hope that the attached note brings you and the Committee
up-to-date with where things stand on the various regulations.
There are also likely to be other texts put to the Europol
Working Group in the run up to the implementation of Europol.
We will, of course, consider these against the scrutiny criteria
and deposit those which fall within them, although, as in this
case, it may be more appropriate to send you an updating note.
The UK has taken the lead on implementation, becoming the first
Member State to ratify the Convention on 10 December 1996. We
hope other Member States will follow this lead in the near future,
to get Europol up and running as soon as possible. The Council
has called on all Member States to ratify by the end of 1997.
If there are particular points of detail that you wish to
pursue in respect of any of the texts, please do not hesitate
to contact Peter Wrench, Head of the Policing Organised Crime
27 January 1997