Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Fiona Mactaggart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office

  The Commission's Communication was examined by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting on 1 February. We note that the Court of Justice has confirmed that, as a general rule, criminal law and criminal procedures are matters which do not fall within the scope of the EC Treaty. However, both the judgment and the Commission's subsequent Communication raise issues of concern as identified in your helpful Explanatory Memorandum.

  We agree with the Government's cautious approach in this matter, and in particular your response to the Commission's proposed "quick and easy solution". At the very least it seems necessary to examine the aims and objectives of each of the legislative instruments listed in the annex to the Communication in order to see whether the imposition of criminal laws and/or sanctions by the Community is essential in order to achieve the aims and objectives of the particular proposal. Certainly not all of the listed Framework Decisions include the sort of recitals contained in the Framework Decision on the protection of the environment and to which the Court appeared to give some weight.

  Thank you for your assurance that you will keep the Committee informed of developments. The Committee decided to clear the document from scrutiny.

2 February 2006

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