Select Committee on European Communities Twelfth Report


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 Unit.

27 January 1997

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