Select Committee on European Scrutiny Twenty-Ninth Report



5. POLICE AND JUDICIAL COOPERATION TO COMBAT TERRORISM

 

(23395)

7153/02

 

Initiative of the Kingdom of Spain with a view to adopting a Council Decision on the implementation of specific measures for police and judicial cooperation to combat terrorism in accordance with Article 4 of Council Common Position 2001/931/CFSP

Legal base:

Articles 30, 31(e) and 34(2)(c) EU; consultation; unanimity

   

Document originated:

14 March 2002

Deposited in Parliament:

22 April 2002

Department:

Home Office

Basis of consideration:

EM of 2 May 2002

Previous Committee Report:

None

To be discussed in Council:

Justice and Home Affairs Council 13-14 June

Committee's assessment:

Legally and politically important

Committee's decision:

Not cleared

 

 

Background

    1. On 28 September 2001, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1373 which provided that States should prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts, freeze terrorist funds and prevent the movements of terrorists and terrorist groups. The resolution also called on States to afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations.
    2. Following the adoption of UNSCR 1373, the Council adopted on 27 December 2001 a Common Position on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism (2001/931/CFSP)[17]. Article 4 of the Common Position required Member States to afford each other, through police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters within the framework of Title VI of the EU Treaty, the widest possible assistance in preventing and combating terrorist acts. With respect to enquiries and proceedings conducted by their authorities in respect of any of the persons listed in the Annex[18] Member States are to "fully exploit" their existing powers in accordance with acts of the European Union and other international agreements, arrangements and conventions which are binding on Member States.
    3. The draft proposal

    4. The proposal, put forward by Spain, is for a Council Decision aimed at increasing cooperation between national authorities and Europol and Eurojust by requiring national authorities to provide Europol and Eurojust with information relating to investigations involving persons and organisations identified in the Annex to Common Position 2001/931/CFSP.
    5. Article 1 is concerned with definitions. Articles 2 and 3 require Member States to designate contact points within their police forces and their judiciary. The contact points would be required to communicate to Europol and Eurojust a range of specified information including "the use of communications technologies"[19] in respect of any investigations which they are carrying out into any person or organisation listed in the Annex to 2001/931/CFSP.
    6. Article 4 requires Member States to "fully exploit the possibilities and advantages of the joint investigation teams". Article 5 requires Member States to ensure that any information communicated under Article 2 and 3 can be exchanged between Europol and Eurojust, pursuant to any agreement which may be concluded by these two bodies. Article 6 requires Member States to deal urgently and as a matter of priority with mutual legal assistance requests relating to a person listed in the Annex. Article 7 requires that any piece of evidence seized or confiscated in the course of criminal investigations into such a person "can be made accessible or available immediately" to the authorities of other Member States where similar investigations "are being carried out or might be initiated".
    7. The Government's view

    8. In his Explanatory Memorandum of 2 May, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) explains that the scope of the proposal raises a number of concerns. These are, first, that the proposal does not make it sufficiently clear that its purpose is to facilitate investigations of the persons listed in the Annex where their activities involve two or more Member States. Secondly, the requirement in Article 2 and 3 to provide access to all information does not allow Member States to derogate from these requirements in the interests of national security or where disclosure might jeopardise the success of a current investigation or the safety of individuals. The Minister further explains that the issue of protecting sensitive information arises again from the reference in Article 2 to the Europol Convention, which suggests that the information would be used to make strategic analyses which would be circulated to all Member States.
    9. Thirdly, the Minister points out that the proposal appears to depart from the Europol Convention in that it places the obligation to transmit information directly to police services rather than through Europol National Units (as provide for in the Europol Convention).
    10. Finally, the Minister explains that Article 7 of the proposal would require Member States to pass on evidence, irrespective of whether it had been used in any domestic criminal proceedings. He states that the Government's view is that such an obligation should not arise until the evidence has been used in criminal proceedings within the United Kingdom, and that the United Kingdom could only comply with such a requirement where evidence has been confiscated following a conviction.
    11. The Minister also states that the proposal "is scheduled for agreement" at the 13-14 June Justice and Home Affairs Council.
    12. Conclusion

    13. We thank the Minister for his helpful Explanatory Memorandum, and in particular for his detailed assessment of the problems raised by this proposal. In view of these substantial difficulties, we think it unrealistic of the Presidency to expect agreement by the June Justice and Home Affairs Council.
    14. We agree with the concerns expressed by the Minister, and infer from them that the proposal in its present form could put at risk the safe keeping of criminal intelligence.
    15. We share the concerns expressed by the Minister over Article 7, but ask the Minister for his views on how unused prosecution material should be treated under this provision.
    16. We shall look forward to an account by the Minister of how his concerns have been addressed. In the meantime, we shall hold the document under scrutiny.
    17. 6. CO-OPERATION OVER TOURISM IN THE EU

       

      (a)

      (23379)

      7325/02

      SEC(02) 300

      (b)

      (23445)

      8234/02

       

      Commission Staff Working Paper:

      Report on Community Measures affecting tourism (2000)

       

      Draft Council Resolution on the future of European tourism.

       

      Legal base:

         

      Document originated:

      (a) 15 March 2002

      Deposited in Parliament:

      (a) 12 April 2002

      (b) 10 May 2002

      Department:

      Culture, Media and Sport

      Basis of consideration:

      (a) EM of 26 April 2002

      (b) EM of 10 May 2002

      Previous Committee Report:

      None; but see (22945) 13975/01; (22946) 13976/01: HC 152-xii (2001-02), paragraph 19 (16 January 2002)

      To be discussed in Council:

      21 May Internal Market, Consumers and Tourism Council

      Committee's assessment:

      Politically important

      Committee's decision:

      Cleared, but further information requested

       

      Report on Community measures affecting tourism

    18. The report deals with Community measures undertaken during 2000 which affect tourism. As such, it covers a very wide field and most of the activities described have been implemented within a wide range of Community policies and programmes which, while not specifically designed to meet tourism objectives, have a significant impact on the tourism-related industries, on the interests of tourists, and on the development and preservation of the natural and cultural heritage. These include consumer issues, funding through the Structural Funds, transport and environmental initiatives.
    19. On the exchange and dissemination of information, the report says that work was completed in 2000 on methodological guidelines for business, including a technical manual on data collection relating to private tourist accommodation. One of the Working Groups set up in 1999 (see paragraph 6.3 below) recommended the introduction of Tourism Satellite Accounts TSA) on the lines of the joint Methodological Reference adopted by the UN Statistical Committee in March 2000. These analyse in detail all demand for goods and services which might be associated with tourism within the economy, to observe the operational interface with the supply of such goods and services within the same economy of reference, and describe how this supply interacts with other economic activities. A joint Methodological Reference of TSA was drawn up by Eurostat, OECD and the World Tourism Organisation and adopted by the UN Statistical Committee in March 2000.
    20. Draft Council Resolution on the future of European tourism

    21. The Conclusions of the Council of 21 June 1999 on Tourism and Employment called on the Commission and the Member States to co-operate closely to maximise the contribution which tourism could make. The objective of the Tourism and Employment process is to create the conditions for sustainable high-quality tourism and competitive European tourism businesses. Five Working Groups were set up that year to look at best practice and consider how best to address the issues raised by the Council. These concerned the need to focus on key areas, including the role that new technologies, training and sustainable development might play in the sector.
    22. On 16 January, we considered a Commission Communication, Working together for the future of European tourism[20], based on the report of the Working Groups. They had agreed on a number of messages which the Commission took into account in the Communication, in which it proposed the introduction of a limited number of measures.
    23. The draft Resolution invites the Commission, the Member States and the European tourism industry to take forward specific recommendations to improve the competitiveness of European tourism, including mechanisms to improve the integration of the interests of the tourism sector in wider Community policies and initiatives affecting the sector.
    24. The Resolution also invites the Member States to exchange information, introduce sustainable development indicators for tourism, facilitate accessibility in tourism for the disabled and make the best use of new technologies. Reference is made to:

    • contributing to the improvement of the global image of the EU in the world through combined promotional activities, whilst ensuring that competition between the Member States is not distorted;

    • promoting the ethical dimension of tourism, for instance by introducing instruments to fight against the exploitation of women and children; and to

    • promoting tourism as an instrument for fighting poverty in developing countries.

    1. The Resolution emphasises that it is desirable to provide for measurement instruments, such as Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA), in order to make a better analysis of the economic impact of tourism. Member States are invited to start implementing TSA.
    2. The Government's view

    3. The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr Kim Howells) stresses that the Government considers that activities to promote tourism are primarily a matter for Member States and that the European Commission's role should be restricted to supporting national policies. However, while the UK remains firmly of the opinion that tourism policy is primarily a matter for Member States, the Government is content to work constructively with the Commission and the European partners. It remains unconvinced of any need for a European multi-annual programme on tourism, or an overarching framework for Community action.
    4. In the Government's view, one of the Commission's main tasks is to ensure good co-ordination within the Commission so that the interests of tourism are taken fully into account in the preparation of legislation and the operation of programmes and policies which may have an impact on the tourism sector. It, therefore, supports and encourages the Commission to ensure co-operation within the Directorates-General with responsibility for Community policies and measures affecting tourism.
    5. Recent Communications from the Commission and the draft Resolution all contain a number of initiatives, suggestions and recommendations. The Minister says that, in considering the feasibility of introducing a TSA for the UK, the Government is already implementing this recommendation. He adds:
    6. "The Government sees clear merit in some of these, including the improved integration of tourism into other EU policies, and systems for the collection and dissemination of information and sharing good practice. The Government also shares the central thesis of these documents, that the tourism sector offers great potential to boost employment and growth".

      Conclusion

    7. The Minister says that the Government has been actively involved in discussions on the contents of this draft Resolution with the Spanish Presidency, which will call for its adoption at the 21 May Council. Some of the wording appears to leave open the possibility that it will be taken as calling for the kind of framework which the Minister opposes. It is not clear whether the wording "This calls for a broad framework of co-ordination between these policies and measures" is intended to be interpreted in that way. Similarly, we question what exactly is meant by strengthening the representation of the European tourism industry "and other stakeholders of the tourism sector" in "European structures in order to promote the political awareness on the tourism issues, in particular in the preparation of the Tourism Satellite Accounts and in the organisation of the annual meetings of the European Tourism Forum".
    8. We now clear this document, but we ask the Minister to send us the final text with his view on it, taking our comments above into account.
    9. 7. IMPORTS OF HIGH-QUALITY BEEF

       

      (23443)

      Draft Council Regulation opening an autonomous quota for the import of high-quality beef.

      Legal base:

      Article 133 EC; qualified majority voting

         

      Department:

      Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

      Basis of consideration:

      EM of 13 May 2002

      Previous Committee Report:

      None, but see footnote

      To be discussed in Council:

      27 May 2002

      Committee's assessment:

      Politically important

      Committee's decision:

      Cleared

       

       

      Background

    10. The beef regime under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provides for reduced tariff quotas to be opened, and, under the agreement on agriculture concluded as part of the Uruguay Round, the Community undertook to open an annual tariff quota for 58,100 tonnes of high-quality ("Hilton") beef. Of this quantity, 28,000 tonnes is allocated to Argentina, 11,500 tonnes to the United States and Canada, 7,000 tonnes to Australia, 6,300 tonnes to Uruguay, 5,000 tonnes to Brazil, and 300 tonnes to New Zealand. In addition, the Commission recently proposed[21] that an additional 1,000 tonnes of quota should be allocated to Paraguay.
    11. The current proposal

    12. Although we have not yet seen an official text, we have been informed in an Explanatory Memorandum of 13 May 2002 from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty) that the Commission has proposed a further increase in the quota, of 10,000 tonnes, to be allocated to Argentina for one year only (from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003). According to the Minister, this proposal follows a meeting between the Agriculture Commissioner and the Argentinian Minister of Agriculture, and is in direct response to the current economic and social crisis in that country. He also points out that the Community was the first to reopen its markets for Argentine meat imports after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, and that, as Argentina's main trade partner, it is now the first to take trade-expanding measures to assist the recovery of the Argentine economy.
    13. The Minister says that, in the context of annual Community beef production of around 8 million tonnes, the proposed quota is unlikely to disturb the market, or have a significant effect on the UK beef sector. The Government therefore supports the proposal. He points out that Argentina also has quota for 700 tonnes of frozen thin skirt, and may also export to the Community under two other concessionary schemes (annual import tariff quotas of 50,700 tonnes of frozen beef for processing, and of 53,000 tonnes of frozen beef and veal).
    14. Conclusion

    15. We note the reasons for this proposal, and also both the relatively small quantity of beef involved and the limited duration of the concession. In view of this, and of the Government's support for what is proposed, we are clearing the document.
    16. 8. WATER MANAGEMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

       

      (a)

      (23331)

      7233/02

      COM(02) 132

       

       

       

      (b)

      (23447)

       

      (i) Commission Communication: Water management in developing countries: Policy and priorities for EU development co-operation.

      (ii) Annex to the Commission Communication: Water management in developing countries: Policy and priorities for EU development co-operation.

       

      Draft Resolution on water management in developing countries

      Legal base:

         

      Department:

      International Development

      Basis of consideration:

      (a) EM of 28 March 2002; (b) EM of 9 May 2002

      Previous Committee Report:

      HC 152-xxvii (2001-02), paragraph 7 (1 May 2002)

      To be discussed in Council:

      30 May Development Council

      Committee's assessment:

      Politically important

      Committee's decision:

      (Both) Cleared

       

       

      The Commission Communication

    17. The Communication draws attention to the pressing need to achieve "global water security". It describes freshwater as a finite and precious resource. and comments that no strategy for the reduction of poverty in developing countries can ignore people's vital requirement for it. The whole donor Community has to join with partner countries to find solutions to the challenge. It identifies the need to integrate, or mainstream, cross-sectoral water management issues into programmes assisting developing countries to develop their own water management and poverty reduction policies and strategies, and to build capacity.
    18. When we considered it on 1 May, we noted that the Secretary of State for International Development (Clare Short) commented that the emphasis on poverty in the Communication was in line with UK policy, as were the issues of integrated, cross-sectoral responses through programme support. However, she said that there was divergence from UK development policy in relation to water for food and trade implications, particularly in relation to the concept of virtual water. These issues were not sufficiently covered, and nor were they resolved in the Communication. The Government hoped that they would be addressed in the Resolution which the Council was preparing in response to the Communication.
    19. We did not clear the document but asked the Minister to submit an Explanatory Memorandum on the draft Resolution.
    20. The draft Resolution

    21. The Minister says that the draft Resolution recognises the importance of addressing the challenge of growing scarcity and declining quality of water resources. It calls for greater coherence, co-ordination and complementarity between the Commission and Member State's policy approaches and programmes. Its principal aim is that the Millennium Development Goal on Water should be achieved, together with a sanitation target. It welcomes the application of integrated water resources management and recognises the importance of reducing water resource degradation and ensuring environmental sustainability. It also highlights the importance of equitable and efficient management of shared waters to build regional co-operation, peace and security. It concludes that the EU has a significant role to play in the water sector given its experience and resources.
    22. The Government's view

    23. The Secretary of State says that the draft Council resolution is consistent with UK policy and helpfully resolves a number of difficulties with the Communication. This was at points imprecise in its use of the terms "food security" and "food production". She says that it also introduced the rather complex and theoretical concept of 'virtual water'. She comments that:
    24. "This was not clearly defined and only served to add to the lack of precision in the communication." She adds: "The Communication stated that 'the EC Development Policy recognises that food security often needs to be ensured through a regional rather than a national framework for production and distribution, which can be seen as a transition from food self-reliance to regional food security. This may entail importing 'virtual water' in the form of crops requiring larger quantities of water'.

      "UK policy is that food security needs to be considered as part of national frameworks, while taking account of food production and trade at regional and global level.

      "The Resolution addresses these concerns by recognising the importance of national and regional strategies and processes, such as PRSPs.[22]

      "The Resolution is clear in its differentiation between issues of food production and food security.

      "The Resolution does not refer to 'virtual water', but recognises the interaction between water management and trade of agricultural and industrial products that include a substantial water component. This is acceptable."

      Conclusion

    25. We thank the Minister for responding swiftly to our request for an Explanatory Memorandum on this Resolution. We note that the issues for the Government in the Communication have been resolved in the Resolution and we now clear both documents.
    26.  

      9. REPRODUCTIVE AND SEXUAL HEALTH AND RIGHTS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

       

      (23333)

      7002/02

      COM (02) 120

      Draft for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on aid for policies and actions on reproductive and sexual health and rights in developing countries.

      Legal base:

      Article 179(1) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting

         

      Document originated:

      7 March 2002

      Deposited in Parliament:

      25 March 2002

      Department:

      International Development

      Basis of consideration:

      EM of 2 April 2002

      Previous Committee Report:

      None

      To be discussed in Council:

      30 May Development Council

      Committee's assessment:

      Politically important

      Committee's decision:

      Cleared, but further information requested

       

       

      The document

    27. This Regulation will replace the 1997 Regulation[23] on aid for population policies and programmes in the developing countries. It notes that the right to good health is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet it is being denied to over a fifth of the world's population. Since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in1994, progress has been made in securing the reproductive and sexual health and rights of men, women and adolescents in developing countries, yet much remains to be done.
    28. The 1997 Regulation, which expires on 31 December 2002, aimed at implementing the Cairo Plan of Action. The Commission argues that a greater and faster effort is needed to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal for maternal health and child mortality. The European Parliament and the Council have also called for greater efforts.
    29. The Regulation proposed here
    30. "is to reinforce the Cairo Plan of Action by giving all couples and individuals the basic right and opportunity to fully protect their reproductive and sexual health, in particular against unsafe abortion and other existing harmful practises. It is to provide universal equal access to care, services and products. It is to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates, which are disproportionately high in developing countries, in particular amongst the poorest young girls and women. It is to give people the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so."

    31. The first and second recitals read:
    32. "The European Community is deeply concerned by the reproductive and sexual health conditions of women and men aged 15 to 49 in developing countries. High maternal mortality and morbidity rates and the lack of a full range of safe and reliable reproductive and sexual health services undermine all efforts to increase economic development, expand opportunities and safeguard livelihoods in developing countries.

      "Individual freedom of choice for women, men and adolescents through adequate access to information and services in matters concerning their reproductive and sexual health and rights is a significant element of progress and development".

    33. The needs of young people should be met, so that adolescents are provided with the necessary information, services and skills to protect their reproductive and sexual health and avoid unwanted pregnancies. The Regulation condemns female genital mutilation and any violation of human rights in the form of compulsory abortion, compulsory sterilisation, infanticide, or the rejection, abandonment or abuse of unwanted children as a means of curbing population growth. No support is to be given under the Regulation to incentives to encourage sterilisation or abortion as a means of family planning nor to the improper testing of contraception methods in developing countries.
    34. Funding is to be provided for research and programmes for action, as far as possible in collaboration with experts or institutions in the partner country. The Regulation specifies the kinds of organisations which will be eligible for financial assistance, such as administrative authorities at all levels, NGOs, local communities and international organisations.
    35. The final budget was expected to be decided at the end of February. The Regulation anticipates the need for a considerable increase over the previous Regulation.
    36. The Government's view

    37. The Secretary of State for International Development (Clare Short) welcomes the increased focus on poverty of the new Regulation and says:
    38. "The EC has an important role to play in making sure that reproductive health remains a central element within the international health agenda. The Reproductive Health budget line will enable the EC to continue to support innovative work in developing countries, including being a catalyst for and supporting international initiatives to lower maternal mortality. Reproductive health strategies are also important for prevention of HIV/AIDS. The EC is potentially well placed to contribute to efforts to meet a significant shortfall in essential reproductive health commodities, including condoms and contraceptives, being faced in a number of developing countries".

    39. Negotiations on the draft were due to begin in early April.
    40. Position Paper of the European NGOs

    41. The NGOs within the European NGO (EuroNGO) network which are involved in sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries have produced a position paper, prior to a meeting in Brussels on 30 April to discuss the draft Regulation with the Council Working Group on Development Co-operation. The paper welcomes the increase in the financial framework but points out that there is a crisis in reproductive health supplies, exacerbated by the "Global Gag Rule" of the Bush Administration[24]. They urge the EC to allocate more resources.
    42. The paper stresses the importance of providing information as well as services and products and that education, counselling and advocacy should become integral components of the programmes supported by the EC.
    43. The NGOs also believe that the Commission proposal should recognise the importance of meeting the reproductive needs of vulnerable groups, such as refugees and internally displaced people or people in conflict situations, given that these groups comprise a considerable percentage of the total population in many developing countries. (Population increases are known to be high in refugee camps).
    44. There is general concern that more and more resources, financial and human, are being directed towards the communicable diseases of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, at the expense of resources devoted to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
    45. There is particular concern at the emphasis in the draft on the Millennium Declaration as a benchmark. The Millennium Development Goals do not specifically include the reproductive health goal that was agreed at the ICPD "to make accessible, through the primary health care system, reproductive health care to all individuals of appropriate ages as soon as possible and no later than the year 2015". The strong emphasis on the two Millenium Development Goals relevant to sexual and reproductive health and rights, rather than on the more detailed key preproductive health agreements of the ICPD, ICPD+5, Beijing and Beijing +5 conferences, raises fears that the ICPD goals are gradually being watered down.
    46. Conclusion

    47. We now clear the document, but we ask the Secretary of State to comment on the extent to which the final text of the Regulation takes into account the concerns of the leading European NGOs in the field.

 


17  OJ No. L. 344, 28.12.2001, p.93. Back

18  2001/931/CFSP has attached to it an Annex listing persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and to whom the Common Position applies. The list is subject to review and revision. Back

19  It is not clear if this means use by terrorist organisations, or the use made of such technologies in their detection. Back

20  (22945) 13975/01; see HC 152-xii (2001-02), paragraph 19 (16 January 2002). Back

21   (23294) 6619/02; see HC 152-xxiv (2001-02), paragraph 12 (17 April 2002). Back

22  Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Back

23  Regulation (EC) No 1484/97: (18193) 8945/97; see HC 155-ii (1997-98), paragraph 98 (22 July 1997). Back

24  In order to qualify for US Government funding, agencies delivering reproductive healthcare to developing countries are required to certify that they do not provide support for, or advocate, abortion. This presidential edict was reinstated by President George W. Bush, having been withdrawn by President Clinton. Back

 
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