Select Committee on European Communities Tenth Report

Extract from Explanatory Note submitted by the Home Office


  12.  The establishment of EURODAC is intended to facilitate the operation of the Dublin Convention which came into effect on 1 September 1997. Early experience of the operation of that convention has confirmed that the establishment of a central database of fingerprints should considerably enhance its effectiveness. If the United Kingdom is able to identify more applications which currently have to be considered substantively by the United Kingdom as ones falling for consideration by other Member States there should be significant savings in public funds. The work undertaken so far suggests that the system should not be costly to set up and run.

  13.  Articles 15 and 16 would provide a role for the European Court of Justice in both dispute resolution and in giving preliminary rulings. In the past the United Kingdom has taken the line that it is not prepared to agree to ECJ jurisdiction for Third Pillar conventions, whether for dispute resolution or interpretation purposes, unless a practical need for this had been established. The earlier explanatory note made clear that no such need had yet been established in the case of the draft EURODAC convention.

  14.  The Government has, however, re-examined its position on ECJ jurisdiction in relation to the EURODAC Convention in the light of what was agreed in the Treaty of Amsterdam. Although the EURODAC Convention is likely to be agreed as a Third Pillar Convention, it will probably not be implemented until after the Amsterdam Treaty comes into force. In the light of these developments the Government is prepared to take a more flexible approach to the question of ECJ jurisdiction and would be prepared to agree to an optional preliminary rulings jurisdiction. It would also be prepared to agree to disputes between Member States being referred to the ECJ if they cannot be resolved by other means.

  15.  The Government would also now be prepared to accept that decisions on implementing measures for the EURODAC Convention should be taken by a two-thirds majority rather than on the basis of unanimity. This is another question on which the Government is prepared to take a more flexible approach in the light of the Treaty of Amsterdam.

26 January 1998

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