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Justice And Home Affairs Council, 28Th And 29Th November

Volume 576: debated on Saturday 17 February 1996

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels on 28th-29th November.

My right honourable friend represented the United Kingdom at the Council. The main matters dealt with were as follows.The Council agreed as "A" points, among other things, a joint action creating a directory of competences in the fight against organised crime, and a joint action establishing a European Community funded incentive and exchange programme to combat trafficking in human beings and child sex abuse.The Presidency reported progress in negotiations on the draft External Frontiers Convention, and on the Europol draft regulations. The United Kingdom hopes to ratify the Europol Convention before the end of the year.Meetings were held with Ministers of associated Central and Eastern European countries and, separately, with Cyprus. These concentrated on the fight against drugs and the need to co-operate against trafficking in human beings and paedophile rings.Two reports were considered on the fight against organised crime, one dealing with the situation in 1995, the other looking forward to future possibilities for closer co-operation and assistance. The first report will be presented to the European Parliament in due course.

A joint action was agreed concerning action to combat trafficking in human beings and sexual abuse of children.

A draft report to the European Council on drugs in the European Union was discussed. Some amendments were agreed and the report will now be forwarded, via the General Affairs Council, to the European Council.

There was extensive discussion of a draft joint action, proposed by France, on approximation of laws and practices to combat drug consumption and drug trafficking. While a strong will was shown on all sides to combat drug trafficking, final agreement of the text of the action was deferred pending further consultations by several countries.

Agreement was reached on a draft resolution on sentencing for serious illicit drug trafficking. The text will now be submitted to the European Council.

The Presidency outlined proposals for settling the outstanding issue of European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the draft Convention on Corruption. More work was commissioned on these proposals.

Discussions took place on aspects of the draft Convention on the Service of Documents in Civil and Judicial Matters. In the absence of agreement, further work was commissioned.

A report to the European Council on achievements in the field of Justice and Home Affairs was briefly discussed. The text will now be finalised and forwarded to the European Council.

A brief summary was given of activities in the field of crime prevention, including the outcome of recent seminars and proposals for a follow-up seminar next year.

Priorities were outlined by the Netherlands for its Presidency in the first half of 1997. These included implementation of the Europol Convention, further work on action to combat drugs and organised crime, trafficking in human beings and abuse of the Internet, and development of the structured dialogue with the countries which are candidates for accession.

Conventions were signed allowing Sweden, Austria and Finland to accede to two conventions on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters and on the law applicable to contractual obligations. Protocols were signed providing on an optional basis for European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the European Union Conventions on the Protection of the European Communities Financial Interests and on the Use of Information Technology for Customs Purposes.