Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report



Letter from the Chairman to Tony McNulty MP, Minister of State, Home Office

  Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union considered the Communication on strengthening practical co-operation at its meeting on 22 March.

  The Committee shares your views in welcoming proposals that are designed to enable Member States to exchange best practice, to develop closer working relations among asylum services at operational level, and to develop confidence in each others' procedures and decision-making. This will in time pave the way for the convergence of asylum decisions and address the great variation in recognition rates among Member States. To this end, we particularly support the establishment of a central Country of Origin Information (COI) system that delivers official, rapid and reliable information. As you explain in your Explanatory Memorandum, working practices on COI collation currently vary considerably between Member States. We believe that this is not satisfactory and that Member States should collect, organise and assess COI on the basis of agreed EU guidelines which reflect the highest standards. We would therefore encourage the Government to take these proposals forward in the next Council discussions of the Communication.

  The Committee decided to clear this document from scrutiny.

23 March 2006

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