Transnational Organised Crime: Perspectives on Global Security

By Adam Edwards; Peter Gill | Go to book overview
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References in the text to the Official Journal of the European Communities are cited as 'OJ', with a 'C' suffix referring to the 'Information and Notices' series, and an 'L' suffix referring to the 'Legislation' series.

For readers unfamiliar with the structure of the European Union, the Treaty on European Union (TEU) that brought the EU into being entered force on 1 November 1993. Under the TEU three policy-making areas or 'pillars' were created, the third of which covered the policy-making area of Justice and Home Affairs, with the right of initiative and approval resting solely with member states developing policy solely on the basis of intergovernmental decision-making, primarily through the Council of the European Union.
The Treaty of Amsterdam was agreed on 17 June 1997 and entered force on 1 May 1999. It transferred issues concerning internal and external borders, visa, asylum, and immigration policies and judicial co-operation on civil matters to a new Title IV under the EC 'pillar' of the TEU. Police co-operation and judicial co-operation on criminal matters remained in a revised third, or JHA, 'pillar'. The treaty itself contains no definition of the concept of an area of 'freedom, security and justice'.
See Woodward (1993:11-14) for an account of this process.
United Kingdom constitutional procedure offers limited powers of scrutiny for measures of international law (the legal status of third-pillar instruments), requiring only that a measure be 'laid before' Parliament for a prescribed period, based on the Ponsonby Rule of 1924. The Europol Convention was passed in this way, without debate in Parliament. See 'MPs denied their say on Europol law', the Guardian, 8 December 1995.
The post-Amsterdam JHA policy-making structure is headed by the 'Article 36 Committee', a co-ordinating committee comprised of senior officials responsible for police, customs and criminal matters. The MDG, which is often described as a 'strategic working party', reports directly to the Article 36 Committee. A number of specialist working parties are responsible for more detailed policy development that relates to MDG proposals: Working party on Co-operation in Criminal Matters, Working party on Substantive Criminal Law, Working party on Police Co-operation and the Working party on Europol. There are also two working parties covering SIS and another for Sirene. The secretive nature of working parties makes it extremely difficult to verify their precise role in relation to TOC policy development.
By December 2001, the Police Chiefs Task Force had met on four occasions. In reviewing the conclusions from Tampere at this time it was noted, in a Council document, that it would be better if in future the Task Force 'focussed to a greater extent on the planning and execution of actual police operations at Union level' (Council, 2001:10).
The entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam brought in several new legislative instruments to replace joint actions. Decisions are more binding and are intended for any purpose other than approximating the laws and regulations of the member states. National parliaments are unlikely to have an opportunity to debate or challenge Council Decisions before they take effect.
See Mathiesen (1999:20). Yet another component of EIS will be the CIS, or Customs Information System, under development by EU customs authorities.
For example, an embryonic European public prosecutions unit, Eurojust, began operating solely on the basis of a Council Decision, pending future enabling legislation. The so-called pro-Eurojust began operational work in early 2001, working with the existing European Judicial Network (which links mutual legal


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