LORDS

Government has not made a convincing case for opt-out

23 April 2013

The Government has not made a convincing case to opt-out of about 130 EU police and criminal justice measures and that to do so would have significant negative repercussions for the UK’s internal security, says the House of Lords EU Committee in its new report published today, following an inquiry undetrtaken jointly by two of its Sub-Committees.

The Committee has also been disappointed with the lack of engagement by the Government with Parliament, the Devolved Administrations and key stakeholders. In their view the Government’s stated good intentions to consult Parliament fully on this important issue have been repeatedly undermined by delays and the limited provision of information.

The Committee concluded that the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is the single most important pre-Lisbon police and criminal justice measure and, if the Government decides to exercise the opt-out, then it should opt back in to the EAW immediately, so as to avoid any gap in its application.

The Committee was also particularly concerned about the potential impact that the opt-out, including the loss of the EAW, could have on efforts by the UK and Ireland to effectively tackle cross-border crime and do not believe that possible alternatives to the EAW would be adequate.

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