Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Foreign and Commonwealth Office


1.  By letter dated 9 November 1999 the Clerk to the Foreign Affairs Committee sought an update on elements of the Government's response to the Committee's report on Gibraltar (Cm 4470).


  2.  The Government have previously provided supplementary information to the Committee on those areas of the Schengen acquis which at the time of the UK's application they considered should not apply to Gibraltar (FCO/FAC/027-99 of 6 December 1999). Discussions continue with Spain and the Government of Gibraltar on issues relating to the UK application. The article of the draft Council decision relating to Gibraltar's participation remains open. Parliament will be informed of progress through the normal scrutiny procedures. We will keep the Committee updated.



Proposals under Title IV

3.  Since the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force on 1 May 1999 there have been a number of proposals under Title IV of the Treaty. The UK has opted in to the following:

    —  Draft Regulation concerning the establishment of "Eurodac" for the comparison of fingerprints of applicants for asylum and certain other aliens;

    —  Draft Regulation on jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters;

    —  Draft Regulation on jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of judgements in matrimonial matters of parental responsibility for joint children;

    —  Draft Regulation on the service in Member States of judicial and extra judicial documents in civil and commercial matters;

    —  Draft Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings.

  4.  The Scrutiny Committees have been notified of other proposals for measures under Title IV. The Government are currently considering whether to exercise their opt-in to these proposals.

Application to Gibraltar

  5.  Under Article 299(4) of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC) measures under Title IV apply to Gibraltar. However, the draft Eurodac Regulation would build on the Dublin Convention, which determines the State responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the Member States, and which does not currently apply to Gibraltar. So in this case, the draft Regulation can only apply to Gibraltar once the Dublin Convention applies there.

Proposals under Title VI of TEU

  6.  To date the Government have submitted more than 35 proposals for measures under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union for parliamentary scrutiny. Unlike first pillar measures, measures adopted under Title VI ("Third Pillar") do not have territorial application governed by Article 299(4) TEC. In the absence of a formal territorial application clause, following established practice regarding international agreements, it is open to the UK to determine the territorial extent of the instrument as regards itself and so notify the other parties. As such the Government of Gibraltar is consulted on a case by case basis on the application to it of any Title VI proposal.


  7.  There has been no challenge to the validity of Gibraltar-issued driving licences and passports in the last three months. We will continue to defend their validity as necessary.


  8.  The Government have maintained an active interest in the Gibraltar telephone operations complaint brought before the Commission by Gibtel and Nynex. As this is a private complaint, the Government have no formal locus. We have, however, continued to urge the Commission to make a determination without delay.

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