§ Mr. Bob Ainsworth
[holding answer 3 July 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I have regular discussions with our European counterparts about increased police co-operation in tackling organised and international crime. Most recently, at the Justice and 901W Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 13 June 2002, the Home Secretary stressed the need for action at European Union (EU) level to combat illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings. This was subsequently reflected in the conclusions of the Seville European Council.
In advance of the Danish presidency of the EU, the Home Secretary met with the Danish Justice Minister on 19 June 2002 and discussed the issue of drug trafficking at EU level. The United Kingdom (UK) will work with the Danish presidency to ensure that the framework decision on drug trafficking is agreed as soon as possible, and that the mid-term review of the EU Action Plan against Drugs is productive in taking forward co-operation at EU level.
The Home Secretary also met with the French Interior Minister, M. Sarkozy, for bilateral talks on 25 June 2002 and they agreed that joint UK-French teams should work together to tackle people trafficking.
Based on the Framework Decision on Joint Investigation Teams, which was adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June, work is under way on the formation of a joint investigation team to combat cocaine smuggling.