§ Mr. Barnes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Justice Council held on 23 to 24 November, giving details of all votes and all decisions which were determined by unanimity or without dissension. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 27 November 1995]: My right hon. and learned Friend represented the United Kingdom at the Council which was held in Brussels on 23 November.
The Council agreed as A points, among other things, a draft resolution on the protection of witnesses, a draft decision on monitoring the implementation of texts adopted regarding admission of third country nationals, reports on the activities of the Europol drugs unit during the first half of 1995 and its programme of activities for the first half of 1996, the rules of procedure of the Europol management board, a draft report on simplified extradition procedure and a draft resolution on the status of third country nationals residing legally in the territory of member states of the European Union.
Following discussion, the Council agreed to a joint position on the definition of refugee status, a joint action on airport transit visas, a report on organised crime in 1994, and standard re-admission clauses for mixed agreements with third countries. The Council discussed the question of European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the Dublin convention which deals with the determination of the state responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the EU member states. The Council noted the current situation with regard to the draft external frontiers convention and discussed the challenge represented by drug trafficking. The insolvency convention was opened for signature and signed by 12 member states.
The Council had a full discussion on the issue of European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the Europol convention and on the difficulties for the United Kingdom presented by the draft joint action on racism and xenophobia. The Council also examined the draft protocol to the convention on fraud against the revenues of the European Community and the draft convention dealing with matrimonial matters. A number of issues relating to extradition were considered, and the Council discussed proposals my right hon. and learned Friend put forward to enhance co-operation in the fight against terrorism.
The Council received information from the presidency relating to EU relations with third countries and with the European Parliament in the fields covered by title VI of the treaty of European Union. It also examined certain procedural questions regarding working methods, decision-taking and finance.
Together with his colleagues, my right hon. and learned Friend signed a memorandum of understanding on the legal interception of telecommunications.