§ Mr. George Howarth
The information is given in the table.
Article 4 of the Schengen Protocol, any request by the United Kingdom to take part in some or all of the existing provisions of the Schengen acquis is subject to the agreement of the thirteen Schengen states. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary stated in his reply to the right hon. Member on 12 March 1999, Official Report, columns 380–82, the SIS is one of the areas of the acquis in which the United Kingdom intends to seek participation.
§ Mr. Maclean
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 10 March 1999,Official Report, columns 267–68, what initial increased use of Europol facilities and sharing of information has taken place since the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam. 
§ Kate Hoey
Although the Treaty of Amsterdam was signed on 2 October 1997, it has not yet been ratified by all member states. It is not therefore in force.
As I indicated in my reply of 10 March 1999, Official Report, columns 267–68, Europol has not yet taken up its full range of activities. Increased use is generally being made of the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU). In 1997, the EDU handled a total of 2,608 requests for information from member states' law enforcement agencies, compared with 2,053 requests in 1996. Of these, 984 requests (453 in 1996) emanated from the United Kingdom, channelled through the National Criminal Intelligence Service on behalf of United Kingdom law enforcement agencies. In 1998, the United Kingdom was the second largest user of the information exchange facilities provided by the EDU.723W
From a total of 2,298 requests for information, 394 originated in the United Kingdom. The majority of requests relate to illegal trafficking.