REPORT on the draft Joint Action adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning arrangements for cooperation between Member States in respect of the identification, tracing, freezing or seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime (6490/98 – C4-0184/98 – 98/0909(CNS))

4 June 1998

Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs
Rapporteur: Mr Leoluca Orlando

By letter of 23 March 1998 the Presidency of the Council of the European Union consulted Parliament, pursuant to Article K.6(2) the EU Treaty, on the draft Joint Action adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning arrangements for cooperation between Member States in respect of the identification, tracing, freezing or seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime (6490/98 - C4-0184/98 - 98/0909(CNS)).

At the sitting of 30 March 1998 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred the Draft to the Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs as the committee responsible and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens" Rights for its opinion.

The Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs appointed Mr Leoluca Orlando rapporteur at its meeting of 30 March 1998.

It considered the draft Joint Action and the draft report at its meetings of 27-28 April, 25-26 May 1998 and 3-4 June 1998.

At the last meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution unanimously.

The following took part in the vote: d'Ancona, chairman; Wiebenga, vice-chairman; Andrews (for Schaffner), Angelilli, Berger (for Ford), Bontempi, Cederschiöld, Crawley, Donnelly (for Deprez), Elliott, Lindeperg, Matikainen (for De Esteban Martin), Nassauer, Oostlander (for Posselt), Palacio (for Colombo Svevo), Pinel, Pirker, Roth, Schulz, Terron i Cusi, Van Lancker (for Schmid), Vinci, Wemheuer (for Marinho) and Zimmermann.

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens" Rights decided on 3 June 1998 not to deliver an opinion.

The report was tabled on 4 June 1998.

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant partsession.

A. LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL - DRAFT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Draft Joint Action adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning arrangements for cooperation between Member States in respect of the identification, tracing, freezing or seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime (6490/98 – C4-0184/98 – 98/0909(CNS))

The proposal is approved with the following amendments:

Council text

Amendments by Parliament

(Amendment 1)

Citation 2a (new)

HAVING REGARD to the Joint Actions of 5 December 1997, establishing a mechanism for evaluating the application and implementation at national level of international undertakings in the fight against organized crime, and of 19 March 1998, establishing a programme of exchanges, training and cooperation for persons responsible for action to combat organized crime (Falcone Programme);

(Amendment 2)
First recital

CONSIDERING the potential for disrupting criminal activity by confiscation of the proceeds from crime;

WHEREAS the potential for disrupting criminal activity in the field of organized crime, by more effective cooperation between Member States in identifying, tracing, freezing or seizing, and confiscating the assets deriving from crime, is being substantially improved;

(Amendment 3)

Second recital

CONSIDERING that mutually compatible practices would enhance European cooperation in asset confiscation;

WHEREAS mutually compatible practices are making cooperation at European level more efficient at identifying, tracing, freezing or seizing, and confiscating illegal assets;

(Amendment 4)

Third recital

CONSIDERING the commitment of Member States to the early ratification of, if they have not already done so, the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime 1990 and the requirements of the EC Money Laundering Directive, 91/308;

WHEREAS the Member States are committed to early ratification, if they have not already done so, of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime, 1990, the requirements of the EC Money Laundering Directive, 91/308, and the 40 recommendations to combat money laundering of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) as formulated in 1996;

(Amendment 5)

Recital 3a (new)

WHEREAS Recommendation No 16 of the European Council's action plan to combat organized crime emphasized the need to accelerate procedures for judicial cooperation in matters relating to organized crime, whilst considerably reducing delay in transmission and responses to requests;

Council text

Amendments by Parliament

(Amendment 6)

Article 1a(1) (new)

1.1 In identifying and tracing illegally obtained assets, the appropriate criminal prosecution authorities of any Member State shall have free and direct access to any information that is publicly accessible in another Member State. In order to obtain any other information, an appropriate exchange of information shall take place between the contact points and Europol.

(Amendment 7)

Article 1a(2) (new)

2.2 Where the authorities intend to infringe the protected rights of persons or institutions in order to identify and trace illegal assets, court decisions shall be required in the requesting and the receiving Member State under the procedure for requests for legal assistance.

(Amendment 8)

Article 2

Member States shall give the same priority to all requests from other Member States which relate to asset identification, tracing, freezing or seizing, and confiscation as is appropriate in domestic proceedings.

Member States shall give the same priority to all requests from other Member States which relate to illegal asset identification, tracing, freezing or seizing, and confiscation as is given to such measures in domestic proceedings.

(Amendment 9)

Article 3(1)

3.1 Where it is not contrary to the law of the Member States, they shall make appropriate use of existing cooperation arrangements, and shall encourage direct contact between investigators, investigating Magistrates and prosecutors to ensure that requests for legal assistance are made only where necessary and, when that is the case, shall ensure that such requests are properly prepared and meet all the requirements of the receiving Member State.

3.1 The Member States shall encourage direct contact between investigators, investigating Magistrates and prosecutors to improve the way in which direct cooperation in the field of legal assistance operates, and to ensure that requests for legal assistance are properly prepared and meet all the requirements of the receiving Member State. This shall have the further purpose of ensuring that requests for legal assistance are made only where necessary.

(Amendment 10)

Article 4(1)

4.1 Member States shall take all necessary steps to minimize the risk of assets being dissipated.

4.1 Member States shall take all necessary steps to minimize the risk of illegal assets being dissipated. To this end, they shall jointly draw up a catalogue of the data which legal requests for confiscating instrumentalities and freezing the proceeds from crime must contain in order to facilitate an immediate decision in the receiving Member State.

(Amendment 11)

Article 4(1b) (new)

4(1b) An appeal against the decision by the receiving Member State to comply with the request shall not have suspensory effect. However, if appropriate securities are provided, the seized or frozen assets shall be ordered to be released. Claims for compensation by the persons concerned shall remain unaffected. The complainant may submit a claim for compensation only in the Member State where the damage occurred and shall apply to the court which is competent under national law. In the context of its liability, a Member State may not claim, vis-àvis the complainant, that another Member State is responsible for the damage suffered. The State or institution responsible for the damage shall, on request, reimburse to the State paying out the compensation with the amount of compensation paid.

(Amendment 12)

Article 4(1c) (new)

4.1c Seizure of instrumentalities and the freezing of proceeds from crime must be justified within an appropriate period, not exceeding one year, by a decision of the requesting Member State ordering the confiscation of the seized or frozen assets. If the requesting Member State does not take such a decision within that period, the seizing or freezing shall be revoked.

(Amendment 13 by Mr Schulz)

Article 4(1d) (new)

4.1d The Member States shall recognize the Court of Justice of the European Communities as competent to:(a) issue preliminary rulings on matters relating to this article;(b) interpret this Joint Action and settle any disputes concerning its implementation.

(Amendment 14)

Article 4(2)

4.2 Where an initial investigation in one judicial region of a Member State leads to the need to pursue further enquiries in another judicial region of that Member State, the Member State shall, where it is not contrary to the law of the Member State, take all possible steps to enable the necessary assistance to be rendered without the need for preparation of a further letter of request.

4.2 Where, in the course of fulfilling a request for legal assistance in one judicial region of a Member State, the need arises to pursue further enquiries in another judicial region of that Member State, the Member State shall take all possible steps to enable the necessary assistance to be rendered without the need for preparation of a further letter of request.

(Amendment 15)

Article 4a (new)

Member States shall take any measures required to enforce court decisions of another Member State on the confiscation of seized or frozen assets.

(Amendment 16)

Article 4b (new)

Member States shall take any measures required to ensure that requests from other Member States concerning the identification, tracing, freezing or seizing, and confiscation of illegal assets may also be fulfilled when the offender has died or absconded.

(Amendment 17)

Article 6

The Council shall review this Joint Action in the light of the results of the operation of the mechanism for evaluating the application and implementation at national level of international undertakings in the fight against organized crime adopted on 5 December 1997.

The Council shall, before the end of 1999, review and assess the way in which the Member States are complying with this Joint Action, and, in so doing, it shall also take account of the results of the operation of the mechanism for evaluating the application and implementation at national level of international undertakings in the fight against organized crime adopted on 5 December 1997.

Legislative resolution embodying Parliament"s opinion on the draft Joint Action adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning arrangements for cooperation between Member States in respect of the identification, tracing, freezing or seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime (6490/98 – C4-0184/98 – 98/0909(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

– having regard to the Council proposal, 6490/98 – 98/0909(CNS),

– having been consulted by the Council pursuant to Article K.6(2) of the Treaty on European Union (C4-0184/98),

– having regard to Rule 58 of its Rules of Procedure,

– having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs

(A4-0222/98),

1. Approves the Council proposal, subject to Parliament"s amendments;

2. Calls on the Council to notify Parliament should it intend to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3. Instructs its President to forward this opinion to the Council and Commission.

B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Basis of the Council Draft

In Policy Guideline 11 of the Action Plan to Combat Organized Crime[1], approved on 17 June 1997, the European Council in Amsterdam stressed "the importance for each Member State of having welldeveloped and wide-ranging legislation in the field of confiscation of the proceeds from crime and the laundering of such proceeds". The Council and Commission were also expressly requested to "develop proposals aiming at a further enhancement of such legislation". This should involve "special procedures for tracing, seizure and confiscation of proceeds from crime".

In the "Detailed Action Plan", Recommendation 26 discusses questions of confiscation. It says that "a study should be undertaken with a view to strengthening the tracing and seizure of illegal assets and of the enforcement of court decisions on the confiscation of assets of organized crime". Without any preceding study, however, "confiscation rules should be introduced which enable confiscation regardless of the presence of the offender, such as when the offender has died or absconded". And, finally, "there should be a study of the possibility to share, at the level of Member States, assets confiscated following international cooperation" (Recommendation 26(b) to (d)).

The Action Plan sets the target date for implementing these recommendations at the end of 1998.

The present draft Joint Action, based on Article K.3(2)(b) of the EU Treaty, sets out to make "arrangements for cooperation between Member States in respect of the identification, tracing, freezing or seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime". It aims to implement some of the Action Plan"s recommendations, especially No 26(b) on "strengthening the tracing and seizure of the proceeds from crime".

Criticism of the Council"s tighter deadline

The British Council Presidency consulted Parliament by letter of 23 March 1998 under Article K.6 of the EU Treaty – thereby following Council practice since the Luxembourg Presidency of anticipating the application of the Amsterdam Treaty (which makes consultation of Parliament compulsory). It asked Parliament to let the Council know its views by mid-June 1998. In so doing, it has further reduced the minimum of three months' notice laid down in the Treaty of Amsterdam for Parliament to deliver an opinion. The covering letter does not contain any explanation or justification for this, nor is it apparent from the calendar of meetings of the Council, which will not be convening again under the British Presidency after the notice expires. Accordingly, there is no objective circumstance to indicate what prompted the Council to shorten the deadline in this way. Moreover, there is no provision for it to do so in the Amsterdam Treaty, which means that, once the Treaty takes effect, it will not be legally admissible.

Criticism of the Draft

The title of the Draft, and in particular its second citation ("having regard to the Action Plan of the High Level Group on Organized Crime approved by the Amsterdam European Council on 16-17 June 1997; and in particular Recommendation 26(b) on strengthening the tracing and seizure of the proceeds from crime"), suggest that the Joint Action aims to implement those aspects of the Action Plan that are supposed to be completed by the end of 1998. But in fact the Draft is largely confined to the following points:

- the production of a guide (indicating contact points),

- a statement of intent to treat requests for legal assistance with appropriate priority and to require an explanation of the reasons when a request for assistance is marked "urgent",

- a statement of intent (not further specified) to minimize the risk of assets being dissipated,

- improving the training of the practitioner.

Thus the Draft does not contain any specific proposals to improve the legal provisions of the Member States for confiscating the proceeds from crime (in contrast to the requirement of Policy Guideline 11 in the Action Plan); nor any practical proposals to introduce special procedures for the tracing, seizure and confiscation of proceeds from crime (in contrast to the requirement of Policy Guideline 11 of the Action Plan); nor any provisions requiring the Member States to enable confiscation regardless of the presence of the offender (in contrast to Recommendation 26(c) of the Detailed Action Plan).

In other words, the Draft does not meet any of the Action Plan"s requirements; nor does it contain what the title, taken in conjunction with the second citation, appears to announce. The meagre content of the Draft gives rise to considerable doubt as to whether the Council will be able to meet its obligations arising from the Action Plan in this area by the target date.

Of course, if the Draft is meant to be no more than a discussion paper, to be extensively fleshed out

– perhaps in the deliberations of the Multidisciplinary Working Party on Organized Crime (MDG)

– one wonders what purpose is served by consulting Parliament at this embryonic stage in its gestation.

Parliament"s view of Action Plan Recommendation 26

In its resolution of 20 November 1997 on the Action Plan to combat organized crime[2], Parliament"s comments on Recommendation 26 include a call

- for the means of tracing, confiscating and seizing illegal assets to be improved and made more sophisticated, and

- for the possibility of confiscating the illegally acquired assets of offenders who have died or absconded.

There is no reason to diverge from this approach. Parliament should therefore propose amendments to the Council Draft that reflect the principles already expressed in its position and that fulfil the requirements in the Action Plan and implement them by the end of 1998. (Obviously we should exclude those areas that the Council is to consider in more detail, such as the question of sharing assets confiscated as a result of international cooperation).

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Reasons for the amendments

A. Concepts

We should first note that the main technical concepts in the draft have the following meanings:

• the purpose of confiscation is essentially to remove from an offender, by means of a court decision, assets illegally acquired in the course of committing an offence. In this connection the Draft refers synonymously to "confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime" and to "asset ... confiscation". So confiscation covers both material and immaterial, movable and immovable assets (in other words, notes and coin as well as bank accounts, and motor vehicles as well as real estate);

• in order to take a court decision on confiscation, the authorities must first ascertain by means of an investigation where the illegal assets are located ("tracing");

• to ensure that assets that have been traced and are likely to be confiscated do not disappear during the procedure that precedes the confiscatory decision, for instance by being sold or transferred, there is usually a need to take action to secure them. Its purpose is to deprive the person concerned of an opportunity to make use of the assets before a final decision is taken on their ultimate fate. General terms for this action to secure them are seizure (for instance, by removing the assets or applying an appropriate injunction) and freezing (for instance, limiting

opportunities for use, such as by blocking an account or prohibiting the sale of property). To illustrate this mechanism, we may draw a parallel with the remand procedure: just as part of the purpose of detention on remand is to prevent an accused person from absconding during the procedure and ensure that the prison sentence can be enforced – since this is the probable outcome, but it cannot be confirmed until criminal proceedings are concluded – in the same way the seizing or freezing of illegal assets is intended to ensure that a subsequent decision to confiscate can be enforced.

B. Amendments to the preamble

To date, the Council has adopted only two Joint Actions to implement the Action Plan"s recommendations:

• the Joint Action of 5 December 1997 establishing a mechanism for evaluating the application and implementation at national level of international undertakings in the fight against organized crime[3] and

• the Joint Action of 19 March 1998 establishing a programme of exchanges, training and cooperation for persons responsible for action to combat organized crime (Falcone programme)[4].

Since the Draft refers to both Joint Actions, explicitly in Article 7 and indirectly in Article 5, on training matters, they ought to be referred to in the preamble (Amendment 1).

In the current debate on criminal policy, support is growing for the view that attempting to get hold of the assets of criminal organizations is one of the most promising concepts for dealing with organized crime. If we can succeed in confiscating the assets of organized crime, we shall have found its Achilles heel. To put it graphically, a godfather with assets in prison is usually more dangerous than a godfather without assets at liberty. In cross-border criminal proceedings, however, we should be concentrating not only on confiscation but also on those stages in the procedure which actually make subsequent confiscation possible. For this reason, emphasis needs to be placed on effective cooperation at an earlier stage, in the identification, tracing, freezing and confiscation process. The efficiency of intergovernmental cooperation rises in proportion to the extent of compatibility in these individual procedural stages. Bearing in mind that the removal of assets deprives organized crime of a central basis for further activity, to do so will also increase the opportunity for preventing further offences in the field of organized crime (Amendments 2 and 3).

As well as referring to the Council of Europe Convention and the EC Money Laundering Directive, the draft should more particularly refer to the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). This body was set up in 1989 at the behest of the Heads of State or Government of the G7 and is composed of 26 countries[5] and two international institutions[6]. Its main purpose is to improve the efficiency of multilateral cooperation to combat money laundering. To this end it drew up the "40 recommendations" in 1990, and revised them in 1996. Recommendation 38 commends the following strategy to the Member States – including all the EU Member States: "There should be authority to take expeditious action in response to requests by foreign countries to identify, freeze, seize and confiscate proceeds or other property of corresponding value to such proceeds, based on money laundering or the crimes underlying the laundering activity. There should be arrangements for coordinating seizure and confiscation proceedings which may include the sharing of confiscated assets." The FATF"s recommendations should therefore also be mentioned in the preamble (Amendment 4).

Finally, consideration should be given to Recommendation 16 of the Action Plan to combat organized crime which seeks the acceleration of the process of judicial cooperation in the field of organized crime and a reduction in the time-limits for submitting and responding to the relevant requests (Amendment 5).

C. Amendments to individual articles

Apart from requiring the Member States to produce a user-friendly guide, the Draft does not contain a single practical measure designed directly to improve mutual cooperation in the field concerned. The measures proposed below could be put in place in the framework of the present system of intergovernmental cooperation.

(a) First, one or two principles should be laid down for improving intergovernmental cooperation in this area:

• in investigations to identify illegal assets, any Member State should have free and direct access to any information that is publicly accessible in another Member State. This becomes important when investigations suggest that certain assets likely to belong to organized crime or one of its representatives are located in another Member State. In order to clarify suspicions, it should be possible for the investigating officer to inspect public registers (such as the Land Register or the Companies Register) in another Member State without having to request legal assistance by judicial process involving the criminal prosecution authorities of that Member State. In order to obtain other information, an appropriate exchange of information should take place between the contact points and Europol (Amendment 6);

• we also need to make it plain that, even when the authorities intend to infringe the protected rights of persons or institutions in connection with their requests for legal assistance (for instance by opening up accounts, searching premises, telephone tapping, or infringing the self-determination law with regard to data protection) in order to identify illegal assets, court decisions will always be required in both the requesting and the receiving Member State (Amendment 7).

• finally, and particularly in view of the aim to create a European judicial area, we should make it absolutely clear that requests for legal assistance concerning the identification, tracing, freezing, seizing or confiscation of illegal assets must be treated with the same priority as domestic procedural measures (Amendment 8).

(b) To make these principles as effective as possible, the Member States should fulfil a number of basic conditions:

• direct contact between investigators, Magistrates and prosecutors should be encouraged by all Member States (without an "opt-out" clause), in order to improve the way in which cooperation works. This will include ensuring that requests for legal assistance are properly prepared and contain all the necessary data. The resulting improvement in the quality of requests for legal assistance will make it much easier for the Member State receiving the request to comply with it, especially as inadequately drafted requests are not infrequently difficult to enforce. The meticulous preparation of requests should ultimately also provide a sufficient guarantee that legal assistance is requested only when it is essential (Amendment 9);

• improving cooperation between Member States on confiscation will depend absolutely on how far they succeed in precluding the risk of illegal assets disappearing. It is often possible to enforce a decision for confiscation in another Member State only if the assets to be confiscated by the receiving Member State are still available at the time when the confiscation decision is taken. So, in practice, confiscation stands or falls with the opportunity of securing the relevant assets in time. Bearing in mind also that, with the use of modern electronic transaction systems, assets can be transferred abroad in a matter of seconds, an instantaneous method of cooperation for confiscating and freezing assets becomes essential.

Obviously this need for rapid decision-making must not be allowed to affect the legal quality of the decision. Hence, we should create a number of conditions that will provide the necessary speed but also deliver adequate guarantees for the soundness of the decision. This will include ensuring that any request for the confiscation or freezing of assets complies with certain essential standards relating to its substance. The Member State receiving the request must be able to decide at once, on the basis of the material it receives, whether to take the securing action or not; it should not be necessary to raise complicated queries or require improvements from the requesting Member State. To fulfil these quality standards in requests for securing measures, the Member States are asked to draw up a precise catalogue of all the data which such a request must contain. The data, which would need to be set out in the language of the Member State receiving the request, should include the personal details of the suspect, the facts on which the suspicion is based, the evidence for the suspicion, legal details of the offence and the conditions for seizure and freezing, details of the assets to be seized or frozen in the receiving Member State, details of the connection between the suspect and the assets concerned (especially when they are in other persons" names), sufficient data on the necessity and appropriateness of the action to be taken by the receiving Member State and the court decision of the requesting Member State ordering seizure or freezing of the assets (Amendment 10);

• it should be possible for an appeal to be lodged against this decision of the receiving Member State. But it will only be possible to guarantee the securing nature of the action taken if the appeal does not influence the securing effect straight away (in other words, if the appeal does not have the effect of suspending the securing action). If it did, merely lodging an appeal – even one that was totally unfounded – could annul the securing effect of the action. For this reason, seizure or freezing should not be suspended until this is ordered by court decision after the appeal has been lodged. However, the person concerned should have an opportunity to bring about suspension of the seizure or freezing of the assets concerned by providing suitable securities (such as a bank guarantee). We must also make it absolutely plain - to ensure that sufficient care is taken when such measures are carried out and to prevent abuse

– that the persons concerned are entitled to claim compensation if they wrongly suffer damage as a result of the securing measures. The person suffering damage may lodge a claim for compensation only in the Member State where the damage occurred and must apply to the court which is competent under national law. In the context of its liability, a Member State may not claim that another Member State is responsible for the damage. The State responsible for the damage, or the Institution, must, on request, reimburse to the State which has paid compensation the amount of the compensation paid (Amendment 11);

• since the securing action of seizure or freezing is only a provisional measure, it is legally desirable to set a deadline by which the provisional decision must be confirmed. This means that the Member State which has requested another to seize or confiscate assets must justify its request within a specific period by means of a decision ordering the confiscation of the seized or frozen assets. If such a decision is not taken, or not taken in time, the provisional measure must be revoked. It would seem defensible to set out one year as the time-limit for the requesting Member State to take this decision (Amendment 12);

• investigations carried out in connection with a request for legal assistance quite often produce information that was not available at the time when the request was made. In such cases, it is in the interest of improving the efficiency of cooperation that further inquiries should also be carried out in a judicial region other than in the one in the original request, if the process of fulfilling a request appears to make this desirable. So it should not be necessary to submit a further request for legal assistance on each occasion when, in the course of inquiries in the receiving Member State, new information emerges which requires further activities in a different part of that Member State. Since the possibility of opting out ("where it is not contrary to the law of the Member State") will thwart the aim of more efficient cooperation, it should be discarded (Amendment 14);

• another significant point is the need to create a provision in all Member States by which decisions taken in another Member State to confiscate specified assets can be enforced by judicial process (enforcement assistance). Here again, we need mutually compatible systems for recognizing judicial decisions (Amendment 15);

• a further recommendation in the Action Plan which the Council Draft fails to take up is the one calling for provisions to be introduced "which enable confiscation regardless of the presence of the offender, such as when the offender has died or absconded". This failing must be rectified (Amendment 16).

(c) Finally, there is a need for greater precision on the requirement to review the Joint Action, to the extent of setting a target date for this purpose. It would seem appropriate to have a review before the end of 1999, considering the importance of this Joint Action and the need for it to be amended in the light of practical requirements as soon as possible (Amendment 17).

  • [1] () OJ C 251, 15.8.1997, p. 1.
  • [2] () OJ C 371, 8.12.97, p. 183.
  • [3] () OJ L 344, 15.12.1997, p. 7.
  • [4] () OJ L 99, 31.3.1998, p. 8.
  • [5] () Most of the industrialized countries of the OECD (Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Canada, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, United States and the United Kingdom) plus Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • [6] () The European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council (representing Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates).