PROTECTION OF THE EURO AGAINST COUNTERFEITING
Initiative of the Kingdom of Sweden for the adoption by the Council of a Framework Decision amending Council Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA of 29 March 2000 on increasing protection by criminal penalties and other sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the euro.
||Articles 31(e) and 34(2)(b) EU; consultation; unanimity
|Forwarded to the Council:
||13 June 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||12 July 2001|
||Home Office |
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 26 September 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (21979) 14935/00: HC 28-viii (2000-01), paragraph 7 (14 March 2001) and HC 152-i (2001-02), paragraph 23 (18 July 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
||No date set|
||Legally and politically important
12.1 The current document originated as Article
5 in a draft Decision on the protection of the euro against counterfeiting.
When that proposal was discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs
Council in May, it was agreed that Article 5 should properly be
a Framework Decision made under the EU Treaty (instead of being
made under the EC Treaty), because it concerned the approximation
of the criminal laws of Member States. It is therefore now a separate
document. The Article provides for Member States to recognise
the principle of the recognition of previous convictions for offences
related to counterfeiting the euro.
12.2 When the previous Committee considered the
draft Decision (in March), it did not clear the proposal, partly
because it had questions about Article 5. We cleared the draft
Decision at our first meeting (in July), in the knowledge that
Article 5 had been deleted.
12.3 The purpose of the current document is to incorporate
the former Article 5 into the existing Framework Decision on this
issue 200/383/JHA of 29 May 2000 which the previous
Committee cleared in March 2000.
It reproduces the text of the former Article 5 and states that
it is to be inserted into the Framework Decision as Article 9a.
ADD 1 is an explanatory note from the Kingdom of Sweden.
12.4 The text of the Article reads as follows:
"Every Member State
shall recognise the principle of the recognition of previous convictions
under the conditions prevailing under its domestic law and, under
those same conditions, shall recognise for the purpose of establishing
habitual criminality final sentences handed down in another Member
State for the offences referred to in Articles 3 to 5 of this
Framework Decision, or the offences referred to Article 3 of the
of the currency counterfeited."
The previous Committee's questions and the Government's
12.5 In its Report of 1 March on the draft Decision,
the previous Committee stated that it would not wish to see the
then Article 5 agreed without a proper infrastructure
in place, and without a clear definition of "habitual criminality".
In response, the then Minister, in her letter of 11 May, told
us that the Government did not consider that the provision should
be delayed until the infrastructure was ready, although she acknowledged
that the infrastructure was necessary for the provision to work
effectively. On "habitual criminality" she stated:
"The Government notes
that the term 'habitual criminality' is used in the 1929 International
Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency. In
the absence of an Explanatory Report to that Convention defining
the term, the Government considers that 'habitual criminality'
would apply where a person has been convicted of a similar offence
on at least one previous occasion."
12.6 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 26 September,
the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for anti-drugs co-ordination
and organised crime (Mr Bob Ainsworth) reminds us of this statement,
and tells us that it remains the case. He also tells us that the
Government considers that changes to legislation will be necessary
in England and Wales in the light of new sentencing provisions
being taken forward in the forthcoming Criminal Justice Bill,
although they are not needed at present. Changes will be needed
to the 1995 Criminal Procedures (Scotland) Act.
12.7 The Minister understands that the Council aims
to adopt the draft Framework Decision "in the next few months".
12.8 We agree that these provisions are more
properly made under the EU Treaty than under the EC Treaty, and
consider that their incorporation into the existing Framework
Decision is sensible. The previous Committee's concerns about
the Article itself have in the main been answered by the Government,
although we urge the Minister to press for speedy development
of an appropriate infrastructure.
12.9 We clear the document.
29 (21979) 14935/00:see headnote to this paragraph. Back
14102/99; see HC 23-x (1999-2000), paragraph 5 (1 March 2000). Back
Convention of 20 April 1929 for the Suppression of Counterfeiting
Currency . Back
14935/00:see headnote to this paragraph. Back
particular, a reliable EU-wide data-base of criminal records. Back