The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee has today criticised the “shopping list” style of earlier EU Justice and Home Affairs programmes, in particular the most recent one, the Stockholm Programme (2010-14), as being too diffuse. It called for a more strategic future programme with effective evaluation at its heart. The Committee also highlighted the need for urgent completion of pending legislation from the old programme including the Passenger Name Record Directive and the Data Protection Directive.
The Committee also concludes that EU agencies such as Europol, Eurojust, the European Asylum Support Office, the EU Agency for Network and Information Security and the EMCDDA must be properly resourced, well managed and subject to light-touch Parliamentary scrutiny.
Chairman of the Sub-Committee, Lord Hannay of Chiswick, said:
“The Committee is persuaded that the next programme must be based on clear strategic guidelines on the way forward in the area of freedom, security and justice. Justice and home affairs affect the day-to-day lives of all European citizens. The watchword should be “steady as she goes”.
“Our increasingly interconnected societies and the rise in serious and organised crime across national borders mean that effective partnership in tackling these issues is even more essential.
“Evaluation must be central to this next programme. Having come through a period of considerable legislative activity in JHA it is now time to effectively consolidate and to implement existing legislation effectively. Any further legislation must be underpinned by appropriate data and a convincing rationale for EU-level action.
“There are still important items of legislation on the table which remain under consideration. The PNR Directive, Data Protection package, and reforms of Europol and Eurojust must be given high priority.
“By conducting this inquiry before the strategic guidelines for 2015-19 have been agreed we have attempted to influence their direction ‘upstream’. We hope that the conclusions and recommendations made in this report will be a useful contribution to the development of the next Programme, for the UK Government, for the Commission and for the other EU Member States.”