7. Memorandum submitted by the Home
1. With increasing movement of people, goods
and money, cooperation with EU countries is necessary to enhance
efforts to fight terrorism, tackle crime, manage migration flows
and improve access to justice. At a multilateral level within
the EU this work is covered by the Hague Programme and its associated
action plan. They are supplemented by the Counter-terrorism Strategy
and Action Plan and Drugs and Human Trafficking action plans.
2. The UK believes that these plans provide
a comprehensive framework for the EU Member States at multilateral
level. The key priorities within that framework are vigorous implementation
of agreed measures and a focus, in future, on practical measures
with added value and benefit to citizens. The following outlines
the priorities that the UK believes should be focused on over
the next two to three years.
3. Attacks against European and other nations
demonstrate the need to enhance the response to international
terrorism including at EU level. Within the counter-terrorism
strategy we aim to focus on:
Delivery of the radicalisation and
Use of the Situation Centre's threat
assessments in policy making and providing Europol and Eurojust
Implementation of the 2005 peer evaluations
on national CT arrangements.
Using EU resources to build capacity
in priority third countries.
Working towards an EU Programme for
Critical Infrastructure Protection.
Embedding EU crisis coordination
arrangements including exercises.
4. Organised crime, including the smuggling
or trafficking of drugs and people, is big business. We want to
see intelligence-led operations and cross border prosecutions
by groups of Member States. The EU should implement agreed measures
and develop the framework in such a way that respects the diversity
of legal systems. We aim to focus on:
Utilisation of the annual Organised
Crime Threat Assessment by Europol.
Enhancing the exchange of information
that law-enforcement agencies need to fight crime.
Implementation of the European action
plan to tackle human trafficking.
Improvement in prisoner transfer
agreements within the EU.
Enhancing judicial cooperation through
Mutual Recognition and support to Eurojust.
Continued implementation of the EU
drugs Action Plan including through support to third countries
such as Afghanistan.
Practical measures, as opposed to
legislation, in the field of criminal procedural law.
5. Cross-border migration is growing rapidly,
driven in part by the opening of labour markets, increased ease
of international travel, displacement of populations outside the
EU and disparities in opportunities. We aim to focus on:
Strengthening the EU's borders through
supporting Frontex, promoting use of technology at the borders,
continuing to improve travel document security and issuance, and
addressing migration by sea.
Enhancing protection by working in
close partnership with countries of origin and transit, including
capacity building and pilot Regional Protection Programmes.
Implementing actions agreed in Global
Approaches to Migration in particular in working with Africa,
particularly on transit migration, and migration and development.
Improving returns through EU readmission
agreements, operational cooperation and promoting the wider use
of voluntary return programmes.
Enhancing practical co-operation
in the EU on asylum, integration and the exchange of immigration
intelligence and information and statistics.
6. In each of the areas the EU needs to
work effectively outside its borders. By coordinating our efforts
abroad we should be able to deliver better results with third
countries. We are therefore supporting the Commission and Presidency
in working with third countries on key JHA priorities, focussing
on the implementation of the EU JHA External Relations Strategy.
7. The Commission Report on Bulgarian and
Romanian accession was published on 26 September. We welcome the
report, which confirms an accession date of 1 January 2007. The
Government has long championed enlargement. We also welcome the
Commission's proposal to establish a mechanism to monitor progress
in reform of judiciary and in the fight against corruption and
organised crime. This will help ensure our key objective: maintaining
the momentum for reform post accession.
8. As the Government announced on 26 September,
the approach to labour market access for Bulgaria and Romania
will be gradual. Details will be provided to Parliament by the
end of October of the transitional controls that will be put in
9. The Finnish Presidency is taking forward
the mid-term review of the Hague Programme as called for at the
time of its adoption. The Commission has recently published four
communications as a contribution to that debate. The UK particularly
welcomes the proposals for evaluation and monitoring which could
help ensure better evaluation of the existing measures and that
future measures are only brought forward when they clearly add
value and are required.
10. The Commission's view is that the decision
making process within the area of Freedom, Security and Justice
encounters regular blockages. The Commission believes that such
difficulties are as a result of the present decision making process
and in particular the use of unanimity rather than Qualified Majority
Voting (QMV) in the areas of police and judicial co-operation
in criminal matters.
11. The Commission expresses its willingness
to bring forward proposals under the Article 42 TEU passerelle
and Article 67(2) TEC bridging clauses as a way of streamlining
decision making procedures and addressing the delimitation between
the first and third pillars.
12. These issues featured prominently in
the negotiations on the Justice and Home Affairs aspects of the
draft Constitutional Treaty, where the UK identified a number
of substantive concerns, including the potential impact on national
security, the extension of external competence and the need for
safeguards such as the emergency brake. These concerns remain
as valid now as they were then.
12 October 2006