Select Committee on European Scrutiny Third Report



Revised draft framework decision on the identification, tracing, freezing, seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime.

Legal base: Article 34(2)(b) EU; consultation; unanimity
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 4 December 2000
Previous Committee Report: HC 23-xxviii (1999-2000), paragraph 19 (1 November 2000)
To be discussed in Council: No date set
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared (decision reported on 1 November 2000)


  10.1  When we considered this proposal in November, we cleared it from scrutiny, since the most controversial Articles in the measure had been dropped. We signalled our intention of probing the Government's position on mutual recognition issues once the promised proposal on mutual recognition of pre-trial orders to freeze assets was forthcoming. We also asked the Minister of State at the Home Office (Mrs Barbara Roche) whether she had proposed, as we suggested, that the 1990 Convention be annexed to the draft Framework Decision text, in the interests of transparency.

The Minister's letter

  10.2  The Minister has now responded. She reminds us of the reasons for dropping the controversial Articles, saying:

    "As you are aware it was decided that such fundamental issues as dual criminality and early restraint needed to be dealt with in their own right and not be subsumed in the consideration of the draft Framework decision. As these were matters that were likely to be of central importance in the discussion on mutual recognition applied to the freezing of assets, they would best be dealt with in this initiative."

  10.3  The Minister also tells us that a Presidency text related to mutual recognition and asset seizing will be deposited for scrutiny shortly. She undertakes to address the issues we raised in her Explanatory Memorandum.

  10.4  In relation to our suggestion that the 1990 Convention be annexed to the Framework Decision text, the Minister informs us that the UK representation in Brussels has advised that it was not "appropriate in principle for a Council of Europe text to be annexed to a European Union Third Pillar document."


  10.5  We thank the Minister for her response, and for her undertaking to address the issues we raised when she supplies an Explanatory Memorandum on the new proposal related to mutual recognition and asset seizing.

  10.6  We regret that it is "inappropriate in principle" for the 1990 Convention to be annexed to the Framework Decision text, since it would simplify matters considerably. However, we thank the Minister for at least raising the question.

  10.7  We have already cleared the document.

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Prepared 6 February 2001