Select Committee on European Scrutiny Fourth Report






Draft agreement between the Republic of Iceland and the European
Police Office.

Opinion of the Joint Supervisory Body in respect of the draft
agreement to be signed between Europol and Iceland.

Council Decision of xx.xx.2001 [sic] authorising the Director of Europol
to conclude a co-operation agreement between Europol and Iceland.

Note from the General Secretariat to COREPER: Draft Agreement
between Iceland and Europol
Legal base: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; unanimity
Documents originated: (a) 8 March 2001
(b) 2 May 2001
(c) 16 May 2001
(d) 21 May 2001
Deposited in Parliament: (a) 19 April 2001
(b), (c) and (d) 1 November 2001
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: Ministers' letters of 6 June and 6 September and EMs of 1 November 2001
Previous Committee Report: None
To be discussed in Council: Already adopted
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: (All) Cleared


11.1  This is the first opportunity that we have had to consider the draft agreement between Europol and Iceland, and the Opinion of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) on it. Although an early version of the draft agreement (document (a)) was deposited in April, no Explanatory Memorandum was ever produced. Nor was the Opinion of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB), which monitors Europol's activities in relation to data protection issues, deposited.

11.2  In her letter of 6 June to the then Leader of the House,[39] the then Minister announced that, owing to the pressure the UK had been exerting for faster progress on Europol agreements, the Government was prepared to lift the parliamentary scrutiny reserve to allow three of these proposals (including the draft agreement with Iceland) to be agreed as "A" points at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28-29 May. In the event, another Member State entered a parliamentary scrutiny reserve, which resulted in a short postponement.

11.3  The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Angela Eagle) has now deposited a later version of the draft Agreement and the JSB Opinion, with Explanatory Memoranda on each. The Explanatory Memorandum on the draft agreement states: "This agreement was adopted at the Transport and Telecommunications Council on 27 and 28 June 2001. Nevertheless, Angela Eagle undertook to deposit an EM and the documents in her letter of 6 September[40] ... This is in line with our commitment to keep the scrutiny committees informed."

Documents (a) (c) and (d)

11.4  These documents all relate to the draft agreement between Europol and Iceland. Document (c) is a later version of the text than document (a), which it supersedes. Document (d) is a note from the General Secretariat to COREPER with a view to the agreement's being taken as an "A" point at Council.

11.5  The draft agreement follows a common format and contains provisions about areas to which the agreement applies; points of contact, competent authorities, and arrangements for liaison officers; the supply of information to and from Europol; and procedures for assessing, correcting and ensuring the security of data.

Document (b)

11.6  Document (b) is the JSB Opinion in respect of the draft agreement. It raises some points of detail, but concludes that, provided that these are addressed, there are no obstacles to prevent the Council from allowing the Director of Europol to conclude the agreement.

The Government's view

11.7  The Minister tells us:

"The Government considers that the agreement allowing exchanges of information between Europol and Iceland is important in the fight against organised crime both within the EU and in countries outside the EU whose organised crime activity impacts upon the EU. The Government is content with these agreements, taking account of the ... opinions of the Joint Supervisory Body ..."


11.8  It is a pity that the proper procedures were not observed in relation to this draft agreement, since the proposal and the Joint Supervisory Body's Opinion on it are both uncontroversial. In this context, we hope that the Home Office does not consider, as its Explanatory Memorandum suggests, that the deposit of a document and an Explanatory Memorandum four months after adoption is "in line with our commitment to keep the scrutiny committees informed".

11.9  However, we are now able to clear all the documents.

39  Letter of 6 June 2001: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 28-29 May 2001: Decision to override parliamentary scrutiny reserve. Back

40  Letter of 6 September 2001: Justice and Home Affairs Council: 28-29 May 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 14 November 2001