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  • Response of the Spanish delegation to 13370/99 EUROPOL 48

    EXTRACTED TEXT FROM:

    COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

    8 February 2000

    5845/00

    LIMITE

    EUROPOL 1

    NOTE from General Secretariat to Europol Working Party

    No. prev. doc.:  13370/99 EUROPOL 48

    Subject :  Comments by delegations to the “First reflections concerning the Tampere Conclusions as far as they relate to Europol” as contained in doc. 13370/99 EUROPOL 48

    ANNEX VII

    RESPONSE BY THE SPANISH DELEGATION

    The Spanish delegation considers, re point 1 of the introduction to the document, that application of both Article 30 of the Amsterdam Treaty and the Tampere Council recommendations on widening Europol operational and executive powers is fully compatible with the current legislative framework of the Europol Convention. It therefore sees no need to make changes involving amendment of the Convention, with the delay that would entail.

    On point two of “First reflections concerning the Tampere Conclusions as far as they relate to Europol”, the Spanish delegation wishes to make the following points:

    Recommendation 43 – First, the Tampere Council recommendations to which this document refers are all set out in Section C of the Conclusions under the Title “A Union-wide fight against crime”.

    Starting from that premise, we consider that the Joint Teams referred to in the recommendation could consist of police and customs officers (in line with their powers respective at national level under Europol), from various EU countries, with Europol support.

    Following this line of reasoning, the Spanish delegation considers that, with the current Europol Convention and on the basis of national legislation, international joint investigation teams could perfectly well be set up, within the European Union framework, to prevent and fight organised crime, with support by Europol staff, but with operations at all times led and conducted by team members who are nationals of the host country, so that the rest of the team has support functions.

    Recommendation 44 – Spain considers that acting on this recommendation is closely linked to the work beginning within the Europol Management Board on the Belgo-Dutch proposal on the development of Europol and the role of the Heads of Europol National Units (HENUs) and of its own Management Board.

    The Spanish delegation considers that use should be made of the existing structure within Europol so that this European Police Chiefs’ operational task Force is structured around HENU meetings, to beef up the most operational approaches and provide a more dynamic HENU forum (Heads of Europol National Units, accompanied by their respective operational police chiefs with national responsibility in the areas of Europol competence) in which to address in optimal conditions the functions outlined in the recommendation.

    This will ensure the requisite coordination between this Police Chiefs’ operational task Force and Europol and the Third Pillar structure, to avoid overlapping and duplicating activities which must of necessity be carried out by the HENUs, the Management Board and Europol itself, the operating potential of which would thus be satisfactorily enhanced.

    National operating units could also be brought closer to Europol with greater involvement in its operations, by more active management participation in the work of identifying joint problems and planning possible solutions.

    The European Police Chiefs’ operational task Force should not be a Third Pillar working party as it would then be hard to give it the dynamic and clearly police focus the recommendation seems to require.

    Recommendation 45 – On this point the Spanish delegation would emphasize that there is no need to amend the Europol Convention since it allows Europol not only to receive operational data but also to process, analyse and disseminate the information and resulting intelligence.

    We also think that if , within its sphere of competence, Europol is aware of or in possession of data or information on the actions of certain persons in the context of organised cross-border crime within the EU, it must communicate it to the countries affected. Logic requires an appropriate response to this Europol initiative in the processing or action to be taken on such information, either by opening relevant enquiries or announcing that they are already underway.

    Recommendation 46 – This recommendation is to set up the EUROJUST unit, composed of professionals with different backgrounds and competences (prosecutors, magistrates or police officers of equivalent competence) with the task of facilitating the coordination of criminal investigations and cooperating closely with the European Judicial Network.

    The functions of each of these professionals in the majority of European Union Member States are different and complementary, and their functional and territorial powers do not coincide, which is why we must first define the composition of this Unit, what we want it to do, what area of responsibility it is going to cover in the fight against crime at EU level, in order then to determine who should be in it and with whom it should be linked and in what way.

    Recommendation 51 – Europol must be able to carry out the same activities in respect of money laundering as for the rest of its functional powers for the reception, processing and analysis of data and information relevant to the performance of its tasks.

    Recommendation 56 – In the opinion of the Spanish delegation the only possibility for generally giving Europol competence in the field of money laundering connected with organised crime affecting two or more EU countries, is for Europol to take on each and every competence listed in the corresponding Annex to the Europol Convention, to which Article 2 thereof refers. No amendment to the Convention is entailed by this approach which uses the procedure laid down in Article 2(2) of the Convention.

    With regard to the Annex to 13370/99 EUROPOL 48 outlining scenarios for actions by Joint Teams, with Europol acting in a coordinating or support role, we consider it too early to define such scenarios until fundamental agreement has been reached on action by these joint teams.

    As we have indicated at various points in this paper, the Spanish delegation considers that these joint teams must act within the legislative framework of the current Europol Convention, in punctilious observance of national law, which is why we must stick to the principle that Joint Team action must at all times be led and conducted by police officers orginating in the host country, taking on coordination and support functions for the others, including Europol staff, who will still have support functions.

    ~~~~~

    Source of this document: SEMDOC database

    Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre

    e-mail: office@statewatch.org