Report - A6-0049/2006Report
A6-0049/2006

REPORT with a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on evaluation of the European arrest warrant

27.2.2006 - (2005/2175(INI))

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Rapporteur: Adeline Hazan


Procedure : 2005/2175(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
A6-0049/2006

PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL

on evaluation of the European arrest warrant

(2005/2175(INI))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the proposal for a recommendation to the Council by Adeline Hazan on behalf of the PSE Group on evaluation of the European arrest warrant (B6‑0455/2005),

 having regard to the Treaty of Amsterdam, which for the first time textually enshrined the objective of establishing a European judicial area,

 having regard to the conclusions of the Tampere summit of 15 and 16 October 1999, which established the principle of mutual recognition as the cornerstone of judicial cooperation,

 having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2002 on the draft Council framework decision on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States[1],

 having regard to the Council framework decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States[2],

 having regard to the Commission's report based on Article 34 of the Council framework decision of 13 June 2002 (COM(2005)0063),

 having regard to the Commission's report based on Article 34 of the Council framework decision of 13 June 2002 (COM(2006) 0008),

 having regard to the judgments of the constitutional courts of Poland (27 April 2005), Germany (18 July 2005) and Cyprus (7 November 2005) and the various procedures under way, notably that before the Belgian Court of Arbitration,

 having regard to the parliamentary meeting held on 17 and 18 October 2005 on improving parliamentary control of judicial and police cooperation in Europe, with the participation of 100 national parliamentarians and members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

 having regard to Rule 114(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6‑0049/2006),

A.  having regard to the innovative and exemplary role of the European arrest warrant in the development of judicial cooperation and the strengthening of mutual trust, as well as its direct impact on the liberties of the public,

B.   whereas the European arrest warrant remains one of the EU's key instruments for judicial cooperation and the fight against terrorism and large-scale crime,

C.  whereas the Commission's initial evaluation shows that the European arrest warrant has demonstrated its effectiveness by comparison with the slow, cumbersome and out-of-date extradition procedure, while also making it possible to reduce the risks of a defendant or sentenced person eluding justice for reasons of 'legal sovereignty', as well as to fight organised crime and terrorism more effectively,

D.  whereas one of the advances introduced by the European arrest warrant is, precisely, the removal of interference by the political authorities in the procedure, by contrast with the extradition procedure,

E.   having regard to the wishes expressed by several Member States concerning retention of certain elements of the traditional extradition system (controls to avoid double jeopardy, intervention of the political authorities in the judicial procedure) or introducing additional grounds for rejection which would be contrary to Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA, such as political reasons, national security or human rights arguments,

F.   having regard to the practical obstacles that have been encountered in the operation of the European arrest warrant, including problems of translation, transmission or use of differing forms incompatible with its criteria,

G.  having regard to the difficulties of transposition encountered by several Member States (especially Germany) and to the need to bring national constitutions into line with Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA in order to permit the surrender of nationals (in particular in Poland and Cyprus),

H.  concerned that these problems may undermine mutual trust and lead to a chain reaction which could threaten the implementation of the European arrest warrant by other Member States, as is demonstrated by the fact that, following the decision by the German Constitutional Court to annul the legislation transposing the framework decision, a number of Member States have indicated that they will have to return to applying, on a transitional basis, the extradition instruments that existed before the entry into force of the European arrest warrant, pending adoption of a new transposing law that is compatible with the Basic Law,

I.    whereas the lack of mutual trust between courts is associated with the shortage of common minimum standards in criminal procedures, which hampers effective judicial cooperation,

J.    whereas the creation of the European area of freedom, security and justice based on mutual trust cannot be conceived without a minimum degree of harmonisation of national law, as Parliament has stressed in its resolution of 15 February 2005[3],

K.  whereas the Commission's first evaluation (COM(2005)0063) concerned only 24 Member States and was completed for Italy, the last Member State to transpose framework decision 2002/584/JHA, only recently (COM(2006)0008),

L.   whereas the transposition problems encountered by Member States are essentially of a similar nature, as is evident from the debates which took place at the parliamentary meeting of 17 and 18 October 2005; whereas in future fuller exchanges of information and closer cooperation between the national parliaments and the European Parliament will be necessary with a view to ensuring the transposition in correct conditions of Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA and of other texts still under consideration,

M.  whereas the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe makes a number of steps advances in the area of police and judicial cooperation in Europe; whereas, among these advances, the abolition of the ‘pillars’ and the communitarisation of procedures are apt to enhance the EU’s capacity for action as well as the democratic and transparent nature of the decisions taken; whereas this part of the Draft Treaty was not a subject for debate or opposition during the recent ratification campaigns,

N.  regretting the fact that the role of Parliament in the adoption of the European arrest warrant and in its evaluation, and the control of its application by the European Court of Justice, are limited by its status as a third-pillar instrument based on Articles 31 and 34 of the EU Treaty,

O.  having regard to the need to apply the Treaties currently in force in full, and, accordingly, to implement the 'passerelle' referred to in Article 42 of the EU Treaty, which provides for the possibility of Member States deciding to bring the European arrest warrant under the first pillar, in order to ensure democratic control by the European Parliament and judicial control by the European Court of Justice,

P.   whereas the Convention establishing a Nordic arrest warrant was signed on 15 December 2005 by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway; whereas, although it is based on the principles and structure of the European arrest warrant, the Nordic arrest warrant integrates a number of advances on it, with a more effective set of rules on surrender, thanks, notably, to the reduction in the number of optional grounds for non-execution and to procedural deadlines that are shorter than those for the European arrest warrant; whereas the EU could usefully take inspiration from the Nordic arrest warrant to improve the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant,

1.  Addresses the following recommendations to the Council:

Transposition and implementation in practice

(a)  adopt, as soon as possible, the proposal for a framework decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union, taking account of Parliament's amendments in its position of 12 April 2005[4]; this measure is essential in order to ensure a similar standard of legal protection for all European citizens, and its guarantees will facilitate the surrender by a Member State of one of its nationals to another Member State;

(b)  ensure that, in the transposition of framework decision 2002/584/JHA, Member States do not reinstate systematic checks regarding double jeopardy for their nationals, as this would undermine both the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant and the principle of mutual trust between Member States;

(c)  ensure that no political authority can interfere in the procedure of implementation of the European arrest warrant, in the fashion that created problems for the extradition procedure; recalls that in future the central authority should not go beyond its role of facilitator of the process of surrender of suspects or sentenced persons;

(d)  ensure that the difficulties persisting in some Member States over the application ratione temporis of framework decision 2002/584/JHA are resolved and that they do not affect its implementation by those Member States which have thus far been applying it correctly;

(e)  ensure that the Member States take, without delay, the appropriate measures so as to avoid any constitutional or legal obstacles to the application of the European Arrest Warrant to their nationals,

(f)   provide for the Council to submit an annual report to Parliament on the measures it has taken to encourage Member States to ensure the proper transposition and effective implementation of the European arrest warrant, as recommended in (b), (c), (d) and (e) above,

Evaluation

(g)  ensure with Parliament, in the context of the powers of the two branches of the budgetary authority, that the Commission, in its capacity as guardian of the Treaties, has the resources needed for the detailed monitoring of the quality of transposition;

(h)  undertake, with the Commission's support and in coordinated fashion, an objective, impartial and more detailed evaluation of the problems encountered by legal professionals in the various Member States, backing it up with a qualitative assessment arrived at via a breakdown of the European arrest warrants by type of offence;

(i)   avoid a proliferation of parallel research activities on the same subject, even if the Council is tempted to carry out its own study, on the grounds that this is a third-pillar measure (Title VI of the Treaty on European Union);

(j)   undertake the regular information and consultation of the European Parliament and the national parliaments on the progress achieved in the implementation of the European arrest warrant, involving them in the evaluation process in the spirit of Article III-260 of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe;

Fundamental rights

(k)  ensure that the Member States, when transposing the framework decision, do not insist that the judge executing a European arrest warrant has systematically to verify its compatibility with fundamental rights, since this would entail the risk of discrimination regarding a mechanism that is grounded in the principle of mutual recognition;

(l)   pay close attention to the issue of respect for human rights and individual freedoms in the implementation of the European arrest warrant, a task to which the proposed Agency for Fundamental Rights should be asked to contribute;

Effectiveness and democracy

(m) ensure the rapid activation of the 'passerelle' provided for in Article 42 of the EU Treaty, thus bringing the European arrest warrant under the first pillar, so as to confer a fully democratic character and greater effectiveness on the measures taken for the European judicial area;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council and, for information, to the Commission and the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

In submitting, on behalf of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, this recommendation on the evaluation of the European arrest warrant, I have, as your rapporteur, grounded my arguments in the findings presented by the Commission in its report based on Article 34 of the Council framework decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the relevant procedures. I shall not here repeat the detailed remarks set out in the two working documents submitted earlier.[1].

The parliamentary meeting held in Brussels on 17 and 18 October[2], with the participation of almost a hundred members of the Union's parliaments and members of LIBE, made it possible, at a special session on the European arrest warrant, to examine its state of implementation in the different Member States. It emerged from the debates that advances have been made on the traditional extradition model but that there are still numerous obstacles, arising from either dubious transposition formulas - some of them validated by constitutional checks on the national transposition laws - or from the practicalities of application.

On the basis of the available data and of additional information received from Member States, professional organisations and NGOs, and in the light of the debates held at the parliamentary meeting, your rapporteur submits the recommendations included in this report for the approval of the LIBE committee and of Parliament.

DRAFT RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL (B6‑0455/2005) (Your rapporteur awaits with interest the up-to-date evaluations which the Commission has still to submit for Italy and also for all the Member States in 2006, and hopes that they will contain more detailed qualitative information than that available at the present stage. 1.9.2005  )

pursuant to Rule 114(1) of the Rules of Procedure

by Adeline Hazan

on behalf of the PSE Group

on evaluation of the European arrest warrant

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the framework decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States,

–   having regard to the Commission report (COM(2005)0063) based on Article 34 of the Council framework decision of 13 June 2002,

–   having regard to the recent judgments of the Constitutional Courts of Poland and Germany,

–   having regard to Rule 114(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Addresses the following recommendations to the Council:

(a) that it should ensure that in transposing the framework decision the Member States do not reintroduce systematic verification of double criminality for their nationals, since this reduces the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant and poses a threat to the principle of mutual confidence between the Member States;

(b) that it should pay particular attention to the fact that non-uniform implementation of the European arrest warrant (failure of some States to transpose recitals 12 and 13 on fundamental rights) could create discrimination, depending on whether or not the judge in the State of implementation must verify consistency of the European arrest warrant with fundamental rights, whereas the nature of the text is based on the principle of mutual recognition;

(c) that it should be concerned by the continuation of a certain level of interference by the political authorities in the European arrest warrant procedure, which caused a problem in the extradition procedure, whereas in this case the central authority must not go beyond its role of facilitator in the procedure of surrender of suspects or individuals already sentenced;

(d) that it should take account of the fact that there are continuing difficulties in some Member States in the application ratione temporis of the framework decision, with a resulting risk of problems in its implementation by other Member States which are applying the framework decision correctly;

(e) that it should ensure that the European Parliament is regularly consulted on progress in implementing the European arrest warrant;

(f)  that it should ensure that a more thorough, objective and impartial evaluation of the difficulties encountered by judicial authorities on the ground is carried out;

(g) that it should think about the possibility in future of revising the framework decision with a view to extending the list of 32 categories of offence for which double criminality is not verified;

(h) that it should ensure that the issue of respect for human rights and individual freedoms is paid particular attention in applying the European arrest warrant;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council and, for information, to the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

PROCEDURE

Title

Proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on evaluation of the European arrest warrant

Procedure number

2005/2175)(INI)

Proposal(s) for recommendation(s) considered

B6-0455/2005

 

 

Legal basis

Rule 114(3)

Committee responsible

         Date announced in plenary

LIBE
29.9.2005

Date of decision to draw up report


26.9.2005

Committee(s) asked for opinions
  Date announced in plenary

 

 

 

 

 

Not delivering opinions
  Date of decision

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced cooperation
  Date announced in plenary

 

Other draft recommendation(s) included in the report

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Adeline Hazan
26.9.2005

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

 

 

Discussed in committee

5.10.2005

24.1.2006

22.2.2006

 

 

Date adopted

22.2.2006

Result of final vote

for:

against:

abstentions:

39

3

4

Members present for the final vote

Alexander Nuno Alvaro, Roberta Angelilli, Edit Bauer, Mihael Brejc, Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg, Michael Cashman, Giusto Catania, Jean-Marie Cavada, Charlotte Cederschiöld, Carlos Coelho, Fausto Correia, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Rosa Díez González, Antoine Duquesne, Kinga Gál, Patrick Gaubert, Elly de Groen-Kouwenhoven, Lilli Gruber, Adeline Hazan, Lívia Járóka, Timothy Kirkhope, Ewa Klamt, Barbara Kudrycka, Stavros Lambrinidis, Romano Maria La Russa, Henrik Lax, Sarah Ludford, Jaime Mayor Oreja, Claude Moraes, Hartmut Nassauer, Martine Roure, Inger Segelström, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Manfred Weber, Stefano Zappalà, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Panayiotis Demetriou, Gérard Deprez, Camiel Eurlings, Evelyne Gebhardt, Ignasi Guardans Cambó, Sophia in 't Veld, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Bill Newton Dunn, Marie-Line Reynaud, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Jan Zahradil

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2)

present for the final vote

 

Date tabled – A6

27.2.2006

A6‑0049/2006

Comments

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PROPOSAL(S) FOR RECOMMENDATION(S) CONSIDERED

B6 number

Author(s)

Title

Committee responsible

Committee(s) asked for opinions

Date announced in plenary

B6-0455/2005
Adeline Hazan on behalf of the PSE Group
Evaluation of the European arrest warrant
LIBE
1.9.2005