Select Committee on European Communities Tenth Report

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Select Committee on the European Communities to Joyce Quin MP, Minister of State at the Home Office

  Thank you for your letter of 18 March. I understand that in the event the Convention was not agreed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 19 March. Sub-Committee E is continuing its examination of the proposal and would be grateful for the following information.

  It appears that further consideration is being given to the extension of the Convention to illegal immigrants. The Committee would find it helpful if you could provide a note setting out the background to and reasons for this proposed amendment and explaining the legal and practical implications.

  The Committee noted from your letter that the Government would not oppose the substitution of the Commission for a Member State as the "headquarters" for the central database. The Committee would be grateful if you could explain the implications, legal and practical, of this for the obligations and liabilities (including those under Articles 7, 8 and 10) accepted by the "headquarters" under the Convention. That explanation could usefully deal with the position of the individual who suffers as a result of misuse of data or other error by the "headquarters".

  The Committee also noted that your letter did not address the question of whether any Member States other than Austria and Germany still had difficulties with the prosposed Convention. It has been reported in the press that Spain has concerns for a number of other Third Pillar matters, including the proposed Convention on Driving Disqualifications and the Joint Action on the European judicial network. What is the position as regards the present Convention?

  Finally the Committee decided to seek the reactions of Justice and the Immigration Law Practitioners Association to the proposed extension of the Convention to illegal immigrants.

  I look forward to receiving your response to the above.

  I am copying this letter to the Chairman and Clerk of the European Legislation Committee in the House of Commons.

2 April 1998

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