Select Committee on European Union Fifth Report


Letter from the Rt Hon the Lord Rooker, Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration, Home Office to Lord Brabazon of Tara, Chairman of the Committee

  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

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