§ Sir Ivan Lawrence
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held on 30 November and 1 December.
§ Mr. Howard
The main matters dealt with by the Council were as follows:
The Council discussed the serious problems presented by fraud against the Community budget. It adopted a resolution on the criminal law protection of Community financial interests, and agreed that further work should be done on this during the first half of 1995 with a view to concluding a binding legal instrument. The United Kingdom proposed a legally binding joint action in March this year.
The Council considered the draft Europol convention but was unable to resolve all the outstanding issues. The presidency reported on progress in developing the convention to the European Council at Essen on 9 to 10 December.
The Council decided on senior staff appointments in the EUROPOL drugs unit. The United Kingdom candidate has now been confirmed as a member of the senior management team.
The Council adopted the following measures in the field of immigration:
- Resolution on the admission of third-country nationals to the territory of member states for study purposes.
- Resolution on admission for self-employment.
- Joint action on travel facilities for third country nationals school pupils.
The Council adopted conclusions setting out the framework for organising co-operation and contacts with third countries on third pillar matters. The Council agreed that the French presidency should organise a meeting with Cyprus and Malta in the first half of 1995.
The Council considered an interim report on racism and xenophobia. It expressed general agreement on the importance of the issue and on the need for further work on all aspects of the problem.
It considered an interim report on judicial co-operation against international organised crime and asked officials to develop a range of proposals for further action.
The Council agreed proposals from the presidency for increased police and customs co-operation in implementation of the declaration adopted at the Berlin conference with central and eastern European states on 8 September.
The Council agreed that officials should proceed with the development of a convention covering all aspects of extradition concurrently with the preparation of a more limited, separate instrument creating simplified procedures for persons consenting to extradition. The aim should be to finalise this latter document in the first half of 1995.
The Council considered a progress report on the drafting of an extension to the Brussels convention, covering jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial cases. It agreed that the working group should continue its work and should examine in particular the possibility of extending the convention to procedures relating to the custody of children.