Select Committee on European Scrutiny Tenth Report


DRAFT AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EUROPOL AND INTERPOL, EUROPOL AND THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, AND EUROPOL AND NORWAY


(a)
(20388)

(b)
(22213)



(c)
(22214)


(d)
(22215)


(e)
(22216)



(f)
(22217)



Draft model Agreement on co-operation with Third States.



Proposal for the content of an Exchange of Letters between the General Secretary of Interpol and the Director of Europol, as mentioned in Articles 13 and 14 of the Draft Agreement between Interpol and Europol.


Draft Agreement between Interpol and Europol.




Draft Agreement between the European Police Office and the European Central Bank.




Proposal for the content of an Exchange of Letters between the President of the European Central Bank and the Director of Europol as mentioned in Article 8 of the Draft Agreement between the European Central Bank and Europol.


Draft Agreement between the Kingdom of Norway and the European Police Office.

 

Legal base: (d) and (e): Articles 42 EU, 10 and 18 of the Europol Convention; consultation; unanimity
(b) (c) and (f)): Articles 42, 10 and 18 of the Europol Convention and the Council Decision of 27 March 2000 authorising the Director of Europol to enter into negotiations on agreements with certain third states and non-EU related bodies; consultation; unanimity
Deposited in Parliament: (b) to (e) 15 March 2001
(f) 16 March 2001
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: EMs of 26 March 2001
Previous Committee Report: (a) HC 34-xxviii (1998-99), paragraph 15 (20 October 1999)

(b) to (f) None

To be discussed in Council: 28-29 May 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: (a), (d) and (e) Cleared

(b), (c) and (f) Not cleared; further information requested

Background

  5.1  In October 1999, we cleared the Council Decision which authorised the Director of Europol to enter into negotiations with third states and non-EU related bodies.[5] In the same month, we considered, but did not clear, document (a), a draft model co-operation agreement with third states, since we understood it was likely to be revised.

  5.2  The Council Decision includes a declaration which requires the Europol Management Board to report to the Council on the laws and administrative practices of the third state or body, so that the Council can consider whether there are any obstacles to the start of negotiations in respect of data protection before issuing an Act authorising the start of negotiations. (These reports are also considered by the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) which monitors Europol's activities in relation to data protection issues.) We cleared the draft Council Act in respect of Interpol in July 2000.[6] The Council Act in respect of Norway was agreed at the JHA Council in March. It was not deposited for scrutiny, but we had cleared the relevant data protection report in January.[7]

  5.3  The Council Decision does not apply to the European Central Bank (ECB), as it is an EU body.

The draft Agreements

  5.4  The purpose of all the Agreements is to enhance the co-operation between Europol and the party in question in combating serious forms of international crime which are within Europol's mandate. They are not identical, but all contain Articles dealing with the exchange of information, confidentiality and liability.

The draft Agreements with Interpol and the ECB

  5.5  The Agreement between Europol and Interpol is set out in document (c), and that between Europol and the ECB in document (d). Document (b) outlines a proposal for the content of an exchange of letters for regulating the determination of liabilities and settlement of disputes as mentioned in Articles 13 and 14 of the Agreement between Europol and Interpol. Similarly, document (e) outlines a proposal for the content of an exchange of letters for regulating the settlement of disputes between Europol and the ECB as mentioned in Article 8 of that draft Agreement.

  5.6  Both draft Agreements contain provisions aimed at combating the threat posed by counterfeiting the euro currency, in line with recent Council Conclusions.[8] That is, indeed, the main thrust of the Agreement with the ECB, which also contains provision for the co-ordination of public relations efforts related to the forgery of the euro.

The draft Agreement with the Kingdom of Norway

  5.7  The draft Agreement with Norway is set out in document (f). It is is a fuller Agreement than the other two and contains provisions about national contact points, competent authorities and liaison officers.

  5.8  This is the first draft Agreement relating to a third state. It uses the model Agreement, document (a), as its base.

The Government's view

  5.9  The Minister of State at the Home Office (Mrs Barbara Roche) tells us that the Government considers that the agreements are important in the fight against organised crime both within the EU and in other States where the organised crime impacts upon the EU.

  5.10  In her Explanatory Memorandum on the agreement with Norway (document (f)), the Minister reminds us that the Government had agreed to press for the inclusion of wording on human rights safeguards in the draft model agreement, (document (a)). She continues:

"The agreement with Norway does not include such wording, but the Government does not consider that this is essential for a country which is clearly within the framework of the Schengen arrangements. The Government will consider the need for human rights safeguards in any other third country agreements with Europol on a case by case basis. All such agreements will be submitted for Parliamentary scrutiny."

  5.11  The Minister also tells us that any agreements that are concluded may place extra demands on the Europol budget, which is met by Member States. The UK contribution to the total budget in 2001 will be 17.5%, via the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).

Conclusion

  5.12  Now that we have a draft Agreement with a third State, and are given to understand by the Minister that these will be considered on a case by case basis, we are content to clear the draft model Agreement, document (a). (We welcome the Minister's undertaking to consider the need for human rights safeguards in future third country agreements with Europol.)

  5.13  We are also content to clear the draft Agreement with the European Central Bank, and the proposed content of an exchange of letters related to it, documents (d) and (e), since the European Central Bank is a European Union body and the provisions of the Council Decision5 do not apply to it.

  5.14  In relation to the Agreements with Interpol and with Norway, however, the provisions of the Decision do apply. We have welcomed the monitoring role of the Joint Supervisory Body, and have looked out for its assessment at each stage of the process. When we cleared the draft Council Act in respect of Interpol,6 we specifically asked to be informed of the Joint Supervisory Body's assessment of the draft Agreement. It is disappointing, therefore, that there is no mention of the Joint Supervisory Body in either of the Explanatory Memoranda on documents (b), (c) and (f). We understand that this omission may be because the Joint Supervisory Body's opinions on these documents have not yet been received. Whatever the reason, given our concern to ensure that the Joint Supervisory Body's views are given due weight, we are not prepared to clear these draft Agreements without knowing them.

  5.15  Therefore, while we clear documents (a), (d) and (e), we will keep documents (b), (c) and (f) under scrutiny until we know the Joint Supervisory Body's opinions on them.


5  (20546) -; see HC 34-xxix (1998-99), paragraph 13 (27 October 1999). Back

6  (21419) -; see HC 23-xxv(1999-2000), paragraph 12 (19 July 2000). Back

7  (21905) 14145/00; see HC 28-iv (2000-01), paragraph 10 (24 January 2001). Back

8  (22048) 5238/01; see HC 28-viii (2000-01), paragraph 30 (14 March 2001). Back


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 6 April 2001