I refer to the Government's Explanatory Memorandum
of 22 May on the Commission proposal for a Council Directive on
the status of third country nationals who are long-term residents.
I am writing now to inform you that the Government
has decided not to opt into this proposal.
We have given full and careful consideration
to the UK's position and have taken into account all the comments
made by NGOs and the Scrutiny Committees.
The proposed Directive would give long-term
residents from one Member State the effective right to enter a
second Member State and apply for residence there, provided they
met certain conditions. We believe that, whilst the proposed Directive
contains many provisions which are entirely consistent with our
policy on participation in EU immigration measures, giving third-country
nationals an enforceable right to enter the UK, without any checks
or safeguards, is not.
I can, however, assure the Committee that in
remaining outside this proposal it is not the Government's intention
that the UK should be seriously out of line with our European
partners in this important area of immigration policy. For that
reason we shall continue to participate fully in discussion of
the text and will monitor the UK's position in relation to that
of other Member States.
7 August 2001