Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Foreign and Commonwealth Office


By letter dated 9 November 1999, the Clerk to the Foreign Affairs Committee sought from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

    (i)  a note on the outcome of the visit to Gibraltar of the expert team to discuss the operational need for, and technical specification of, a new fast patrol boat for the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP); and

    (ii)  a statement on the areas where the Government does not believe it would be appropriate for a part of the Schengen acquis which is to apply to the United Kingdom to apply also to Gibraltar.


  Two UK-based officers of the MOD police visited Gibraltar from 20-22 October at the request of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. They held talks with the RGP, the Government of Gibraltar and the Governor and his staff to assess the RGP's operational needs; the specification of a vessel needed to fulfil their duties; maintenance and repair of vessels; and EU procurement procedures.

  The team recommended that the RGP Marine Unit needed, as a matter of urgency, a sea-worthy Class A fast patrol boat. Given the length of time it would take to procure and build a new vessel, the team also floated the option of the RGP obtaining a second-hand vessel.

  The team's assessment and recommendations have been discussed with the RGP and Government of Gibraltar, who have confirmed that they prefer the option of a new boat, purchased, if possible, under accelerated EU procurement procedures (on grounds of urgency).

  FCO Ministerial approval in principle has been given to co-fund a vessel in FY 1999/2000 from the Gibraltar Good Government Fund, subject to final discussion of the EU procurement procedures.


  The United Kingdom's application to participate in areas of the Schengen acquis relating to law enforcement and criminal judicial co-operation was contained in the Home Secretary's letter of 20 May to the Presidency which was the subject of a Home Office explanatory memorandum to the House of Lords European Scrutiny Committee and to the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee on 24 June 1999. The UK application stated that for the purposes of this application the provisions of the Schengen acquis which the UK intended to accept should apply to Gibraltar except where the Government believed that application to Gibraltar would be inappropriate. Articles where the Government did not seek Gibraltar's inclusion are:

    —  Articles 40 and 42-3 (to the extent that they apply to Article 40) on cross-border surveillance. These provisions were not designed to apply to controlled borders with customs checks like that between Gibraltar and Spain.

    —  Articles 48-53 on mutual assistance in criminal matters. The provisions of this chapter are expressly intended to supplement the 1959 Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters which currently does not apply to Gibraltar. We are keeping this under review.

    —  Articles 59-66 on extradition. The provisions of this chapter are expressly intended to supplement the 1957 European Convention on Extradition which currently does not apply to Gibraltar. We are keeping this under review.

    —  Articles with a legal base in Article 95 TEC. Gibraltar is outside the Common Customs territory. It may therefore not be appropriate to apply to Gibraltar provisions of the Schengen acquis which are allocated a legal base of Article 95 TEC and relate to the free movement of goods. We are keeping this under review.

  The UK's original application also included Article 41 (hot pursuit) among those measures which would not apply to Gibraltar. Parliament has been informed through scrutiny procedures that the UK has now confirmed to the Presidency that the hot pursuit provisions should not apply to the UK.

  Discussion of the draft Council decision on the UK's application continues. The article of the draft Council decision which relates to Gibraltar has been left open while negotiations continue.

  Parliament will be notified of progress through the normal scrutiny procedures.

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