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Lord Howell of Guildford: I am grateful to the noble Baroness. Obviously, her assurances are reassuring and bring additional clarity to a situation which, after a few days, tends to become clouded again. I hope that this time the clouds stay away.
I confess that I will still need constant reassurance, as will members of the public, and certainly your Lordships, about the humanitarian tasks. In the noble Baroness's phrase, the "what is it all about?" question will need constant clarification, and rightly so. These are military resources backed by taxpayers' money. People have a right to know what any new forces are for. If they are for flood relief and humanitarian tasks and matters yet difficult to define, one is left wondering how flood relief will be secured by 100,000 troops, 400 aircraft and 100 ships. That sounds more like the expeditionary force of the Greeks against Troy except, presumably, they would not have had aircraft. That is a very big operation, yet the noble Baroness is describing much lower profile operations. That is not quite what the Secretary of State is reported as saying this morning. I have not checked the original text, only the newspaper reports.
All the time there is a desperate need to keep in focus and state with precision what this additional force is for and to ensure that it meets the criteria laid down by everybody, including the Prime Minister in some statements and President Bush, but not, from time to
As regards the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, rightly raising his eyebrow at the thought of a marching song, I freely state that I took it from a pamphlet of a very reliable and learned columnist, Mr Irwin Steltzer. But perhaps feeling that it was not enough to rely on him I did check with the authorities connected with the European Commission. Rather like the noble Baroness, I received a kind of silence, followed by a feeling that they had no record of the idea of a marching song related to the rapid reaction forcewhich, after all, so far has not marched anywherebut that it rang a faint bell in relation to the Euro Brigade. Further conversationnot of the totally thorough kind which the Committee deservesindicated to me that the Euro Brigade did and does have a marching song. So it may be that I was confusing the Euro Brigade with the RRF, which, I recognise, are two very different organisations. I apologise if there was confusion as a result of my remarks.
I have nothing more to add at this late stage. I am grateful for the further reassurancesalthough I should say, slightly gloomily, that I suspect that before we are through we may need still more. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: We turn now from the clarity of military operations to the fog of the law. The Tampere European Council in October 1999 agreed on the establishment of Eurojust. At Nice it was agreed that the Council "shall promote co-operation through Eurojust" in three main areas: to enable Eurojust to facilitate co-ordination between the prosecuting authorities of member states; to promote support by Eurojust for criminal investigations in serious cross-border crime, particularly organised crime; and to facilitate close co-operation between Eurojust and the European judicial network, especially to facilitate extradition requests.
We on these Benches, of course, support improved co-ordination in these areas; but we oppose any move beyond that. I observe that, in the course of the proceedings of the Select Committee on European Scrutiny that led to its sixth report, the Government undertook not to accept any operational role for Eurojust in national criminal investigations or prosecutions. In this context, moreover, the report also expressed some anxiety about the content of certain draft documents. In particular, the report stated:
Lord Monson: If one has a de facto federal public prosecutor, as foreshadowed by the commissioner quoted by the noble Lord, will that not lead inexorably to a federal bureau of investigationeven if under another namewhose agents have the power to go anywhere, with or without the knowledge and permission of the local police, and bear firearms if they require them? Further, persons caught by such agents, prosecuted and convicted could serve their sentences in a federal penitentiary.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Article 31(2) lays down means by which the council shall encourage co-operation through Eurojust. However, the declaration that is the subject of the amendment merely records that member states agreed some time ago the role of Eurojust and where and when the decision to establish it was taken.
The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, reminded us that the decision to establish Eurojust was taken by the Tampere European Council in October 1999. The declaration makes clear that the intention was to improve co-operation between national prosecutors aiding national criminal investigations into serious organised crime. Eurojust is not a supranational European police force but an arrangement to cover intergovernmental co-operation for the good of our citizens across Europe.
I assure the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, that Eurojust will not meanas he saw reportedinterference by the European Union in national investigations and prosecutions. Neither will it mean an end to British legal tradition or be a body that investigates and prosecutes in its own right. Eurojust will not be a centralised European public prosecutor. It will be a means by which investigations will continue to be conducted by national authorities. Eurojust's role will be to aid cross-border investigations through co-operation between national authorities.
Eurojust is a network designed to crack down on international organised crime, to help put an end to the misery caused by traffickers in drugs and human beings, and to bring money launderers to booksomething that all members of the Committee should be able to support.
Lord Kingsland: I thank the noble Baroness for her reply, which I find greatly reassuring. Last night, we debated at some length the question of the European warrant. Those who attended that debate will recall that we are about to be faced with a new regime whereby an important part of the criminal law of our country will come under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. I am much relieved to hear that that will not be the case for Eurojust. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The Deputy Chairman of Committees: In that case, I must put the Question, That this amendment be agreed to. As many as are of that opinion shall say, "Content"; to the contrary, "Not-Content".
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