SIGNING OF THE UN CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL
ORGANISED CRIME, AND THE PROTOCOL ON TRAFFICKING IN FIREARMS
Draft Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Community, of the United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime and its Protocols on combating trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and the smuggling of migrants by land, air and sea.
Draft Council Decision concerning the signing of the United Nations Protocol, annexed to the Convention against transnational organised crime, on the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in firearms, their parts, components and ammunition, on behalf of the European Community.
||(a) Articles 47, 62(2)(a), 63(3)(b) and 95 EC; consultation; unanimity
(b) Articles 95 and 133 EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
||(a) 4 December 2000
(b) 13 July 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||(a) 5 December 2000
|Deposited in Parliament:
||(a) 12 January 2001
(b) 27 September 2001
|Basis of consideration:
||EMs of 30 November 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||(a) Already adopted
(b) No date known
7.1 Document (a) was deposited in January
2001. The Home Office then tried to withdraw it, as it was thought
that it had been deposited in error. (The Commission had by then
signed the UN Convention to which it relates.) Our sister Committee
in the House of Lords did not consider that the document should
be withdrawn, and requested an Explanatory Memorandum on it in
March 2001. Since then, the Cabinet Office has regularly reminded
the Home Office that the Explanatory Memorandum was outstanding.
It was submitted on 30 November 2001.
7.2 Document (b) was deposited in August
2001, and the Explanatory Memorandum was due in September. Again,
it was submitted on 30 November 2001.
7.3 Document (a) is a draft Decision, authorising
the Commission to sign the UN Convention on Transnational Organised
Crime and its protocols on trafficking in human beings and migrant
smuggling. The Convention and its protocols include provisions
on money laundering and frontier controls which were deemed to
fall within Community competence. The draft Decision was not published
by the Commission until 4 December 2000; it was adopted before
the signature conference in Palermo on 12-15 December 2000. At
that event, over 100 countries and the Commission signed the Convention
7.4 Document (b) is a draft Council Decision
authorising the Commission to sign the Protocol on the illicit
manufacture of, and trafficking in, firearms which is annexed
to the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime. The measure
includes provisions on the making of firearms, record-keeping,
import, export and transit licensing, border controls, brokers
and deactivation of firearms which were deemed to fall within
The Government's view
7.5 The Parliamentary Under- Secretary of
State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) apologises for the
delay in submitting both Explanatory Memoranda. He tells us that
neither measure is controversial, since both are based on prior
agreements to the effect that certain provisions fell within Community
7.6 The Minister says that the draft Decision
on the Protocol on the illicit manufacture of, and trafficking
in, firearms will be adopted as soon as parliamentary scrutiny
in various Member States is completed. The Government also intends
to sign the Protocol on behalf of the UK.
7.7 This is another sorry tale of poor
departmental performance. The uncertainty over whether or not
the original document should have been deposited cannot explain
or excuse the long delay in submitting an Explanatory Memorandum
once one had been requested. No explanation is offered for the
delay in submitting the Explanatory Memorandum on the second document.
Both Memoranda are extremely brief: it is difficult to believe
they were time-consuming to compose. We require an explanation
for the delay in both cases.
7.8 The first document is now obsolete;
the second, uncontroversial. We therefore clear them both.