Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Ninth Report

CHAPTER 6: conclusions and recommendations

77. Border controls cannot bear the full weight of ensuring security in the EU, but relaxed or inefficient controls will clearly tend to increase the risks of illegal immigration and cross-border crime (paragraph 16).

78. There is a clear need for effective co-operation between Member States to provide a more uniform level of security at external borders (paragraph 50).

79. We welcome the greatly increased level of practical co-operation between the Member States on external border issues and the United Kingdom's active participation in them, although there is some inconsistency in the United Kingdom's approach, given its non-participation in the main elements of Schengen (paragraph 50).

80. The case for financial burden-sharing is unarguable; we welcome the specific provision made for it in the draft Constitutional Treaty and the Government's acceptance of it in principle (paragraph 51).

81. We strongly endorse the point made by many of our witnesses about the need for trust between authorities across a common border and we fully support the general thrust of the Commission's Communication on the "new neighbours". It is important that preoccupation with EU integrated border management does not displace the equally important work of building up trust and effective working relationships with the new neighbours (paragraph 51).

82. The case for a fully fledged multi-national force has not been made (paragraph 53).

83. Dr Edward Johnson's work in developing specialised operational "languages" has great potential for facilitating communication in operational co-operation in the border control field, and we urge those concerned to examine further its possible application in such situations (paragraph 54).

84. It is essential that any EU body responsible for border controls should have a clear legal base and be subject to detailed accountability and data protection safeguards. The establishment of Eurojust provides a useful precedent (paragraph 60).

85. All common EU border control activities should be subject to effective data protection standards, particularly if they involve risk assessment and profiling and intelligence sharing (paragraph 61).

86. It is important that clear legal rules applying to joint operations are established, including rules on the powers of border guards and the remedies available to individuals when these powers are exceeded (paragraph 62).

87. It is essential that guidelines for border guards take full account of international human rights principles and are drafted with the utmost care to combat racial discrimination in the application of controls on entry and to avoid racial stereotyping (paragraph 63).

88. We welcome the proposals in the draft Constitutional Treaty, which should bring about considerable improvements by merging the First and Third Pillars and subjecting measures adopted in the area of freedom, security and justice to a high level of judicial control and parliamentary accountability (paragraph 64).

89. If the Government continue to maintain controls at the United Kingdom's borders with other Member States, they should consider the possibility of adopting the common manual for checks at external borders (paragraph 76).

Recommendation to the House

90. The Commission Communication on integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union issues raises important issues of policy to which the attention of the House should be drawn, and we therefore recommend this report for debate.

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