Select Committee on European Union Thirteenth Report


Letter from Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State, Home Office, to the Chairman of Sub-Committee F

  Thank you for your letter of 19 January to the Home Secretary, enclosing a copy of the Committee's report on European Union databases.

  I welcome the report as a careful and thorough examination of the issues and have pleasure in enclosing a memorandum of reply.

  The memorandum concentrates on the opinion of the Committee as described at pages 17-19 of the report (paragraphs 47-60). As well as that opinion, I should like to comment here on one other issue. In paragraph 35 of the report, the Committee recorded the comments of Statewatch that the Home Office should clarify the use it intends to make of immigration data held on the Schengen Information System (SIS). Although the precise form of our participation in the Schengen acquis has yet formally to be agreed, we understand that other Member States will accept our exclusion from that aspect of the system, on the basis that we do not intend to operate the external border arrangements of the Schengen acquis. Further discussions will be held with partners to agree the technical arrangements necessary to achieve our partial participation in the SIS.

  I am sending a copy of this letter and of the accompanying memorandum to Ann Taylor and Keith Vaz, as well as to Jimmy Hood as Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee and to Robin Corbett as Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee.

20 March 2000

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