Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Second Report


22. NETWORK OF CONTACT POINTS FOR PRIVATE SECURITY


(23152)

5135/02


Initiative of the Kingdom of Spain on the setting up of a network of contact points of national authorities responsible for private security.

Legal base:Articles 29,30(1) and 34(2)(c) EU; consultation; unanimity
Department:Home Office
Basis of consideration:Minister's letter of 11 June 2002
Previous Committee Report:HC 152-xxiv (2001-02), paragraph 7 (17 April 2002)
To be discussed in Council:13-14 June 2002
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared


Background

  22.1  The Spanish Presidency intended this draft Decision to address a number of concerns about the private security industry, and to improve the ability of companies within it to operate in the European Single Market. We last considered it in April on the basis of a letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth). He told us that the Presidency was considering how to proceed following an opinion by the Council Legal Service to the effect that the proposed Third Pillar legal base[45] was inappropriate, and that a First Pillar base[46] would be preferable. In these circumstances, we decided to keep the document under scrutiny and wait to see how the situation developed.

The Minister's letter

  22.2  The Minister has now written to us again. He explains that the proposal has been considerably scaled down and is now merely a draft Recommendation with no formal legal base. He continues:

"The draft recommends that Member States encourage co-operation and collaboration between national authorities responsible for private security, exchange experience and establish best practice in the handling of information supplied by private security firms, and organise a meeting every two years of the national authorities.

"The Government welcomes the new proposal in that it gives rise to none of the difficulties associated with the previous text...

"The Spanish Presidency are hoping to attain agreement to this text at the next meeting of the JHA [Justice and Home Affairs] Council on 13-14 June. Given that the new draft is not legally binding and does not appear to give rise to any concerns I would very much appreciate it if, exceptionally, your Committee could give agreement on the Recommendation as a matter of urgency, and in the absence of a full Explanatory Memorandum."

  22.3  The Minister encloses a copy of the new text for information.

Conclusion

  22.4  We remind the Minister that he should have deposited the new text formally, and submitted an Explanatory Memorandum on it. However, like him, we are relieved that this unsatisfactory draft Decision has now been whittled down to a Recommendation.

  22.5  Exceptionally, we clear the document on the basis of the Minister's letter.


45  The Third Pillar covers provisions on police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters. Back

46  The First Pillar covers traditional EC business, including Single Market legislation. Back


 
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