Select Committee on European Scrutiny Sixth Report





Initiative of the Kingdom of Sweden with a view to the
adoption of a Council Decision establishing a system of
special forensic profiling analysis of synthetic drugs.

Initiative of the Kingdom of Sweden with a view to the
adoption of a Council Decision on the transmission of
samples of illegal narcotic substances.

Explanatory memorandum related to two Swedish
initiatives in the field of drugs.

Legal base: Articles 30, 31 and 34(2)(c) EU; consultation; unanimity
Deposited in Parliament: a) and b) 15 January 2001
c) 30 January 2001
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: EM of 25 January 2001
Previous Committee Report: None
To be discussed in Council: May 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Not cleared; further information requested


  5.1  These two Swedish initiatives aim to improve the analysis of synthetic drugs and the pooling by Member States at EU level of police and forensic information in order to target production sites and distribution networks for synthetic drugs in Europe.

The documents

  5.2  Documents (a) and (b) are draft Decisions addressing, respectively, the profiling analysis of drugs, and the transmission of samples. Document (c) is an explanatory memorandum covering both proposals.

Document (a)

  5.3  Document (a) covers all amphetamine-type stimulants. It proposes a European system of laboratories, whereby one laboratory only would be designated for each specific type of drug. These laboratories would analyse samples and check for matches with others previously analysed. The Member State where the laboratory is located would bear the costs.

  5.4  Member States would be required to transmit samples of drugs seized at production sites, or in significant quantities, to the appropriate laboratory, and to inform Europol. The proposal also contains provisions about the requirement on laboratories to inform the relevant Member States and Europol of analysis results and matches.

Document (b)

  5.5  Document (b) sets out a procedure for transmitting samples of illicit substances. Unlike document (a), it covers all kinds of narcotic drugs, but their transport is permitted only on grounds of prevention, law enforcement or judicial purposes. National contact points in each Member State are proposed, and a standard form is provided. Member States must allow the passage of samples through their territory en route to the designated laboratory.

The Government's view

  5.6  The Minister of State at the Home Office (Mrs Barbara Roche) tells us that the principle underlying these proposals is acceptable to the Government. She adds, however, that the administrative arrangements may be complicated. There would be financial implications if one of the designated laboratories were located in the UK; even if no UK laboratory were selected, some minor costs would be involved in setting up a national contact point.


  5.7  The Minister's Explanatory Memorandum does not provide a very convincing case for these draft Directives; indeed, it suggests they may involve extra cost and administrative effort. On the face of it, the proposals seem complex and bureaucratic, involving the transmission of samples around Europe for no very clear purpose. We ask the Minister for a full explanation of the benefits to be gained from a system of designated laboratories for specific drugs and of how, in her view, they outweigh the administrative difficulties she envisages.

  5.8  We do not clear the documents.

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