§ Mr. Alexander
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on European Union initiatives to combat organised crime. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
The European Council agreed a comprehensive action plan for a co-ordinated approach to the fight against organised crime at its meeting in Vienna during the Austrian Presidency in 1998. In support of this plan, the European Union has developed and implemented a significant number of proactive initiatives. The European Council Meeting in Tampere in October 1999 focused on justice and home affairs in the European Union, in particular the problems presented by organised crime. Subjects covered included human trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering, crime prevention, and the tools available to fight these crimes—mutual recognition of judicial decisions, EUROJUST, Europol, and the European Chiefs Task Force. Major progress was made in strengthening and implementing existing initiatives and developing new ones. The United Kingdom attaches considerable importance to this work. It has played, and will continue to play, a major role in developing and putting forward initiatives designed to strengthen European Union action and co-operation in this field. Copies of European Union Documents relating to these initiatives, which have been considered by the House European Scrutiny Committee, are available in the Library.