As part of EU plans to address the migration crisis, the European Commission proposed to extend the remit of European Maritime Safety Agency. This would ensure better co-ordination of coast guard functions across the EU, which are currently carried out by over 300 authorities. The Government expressed concerns that this proposal went beyond EMSA's current remit and could negatively impact the UK's coast guard agency.
In correspondence with the Committee the Government subsequently clarified that it had secured extensive concessions in Working Group negotiations to address its concerns. Nonetheless, the Government said that it intended to ‘opt out’ from the proposal on the grounds that it contained Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) policy content.
The Committee has written to the Government to explain that the UK’s opt-in Protocol does not apply in the absence of a JHA legal base, and that exercising it would therefore lead to legal uncertainty. On this basis the Committee decided not to grant the Government a scrutiny waiver.
For further information about the UK’s JHA opt-in Protocol read our recent report, The UK’s opt-in Protocol: implications of the Government’s approach.
Letter to the Minister