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Eu Constitution

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on those sections of the draft EU constitution relating to (a) internal border controls and (b) people-trafficking. [122709]

Reference to an area without internal borders is made in the existing Treaty establishing the European Community and the draft EU Constitutional Treaty. The existing Treaty is subject to the UK and Ireland's "frontiers' protocol" which gives the UK the right under the Treaties to exercise at its frontiers with other member states such controls on persons seeking to enter the United Kingdom as it considers necessary. The Protocols will remain an integral part of the new Treaty. The Government's position on this issue has not changed: we will maintain controls at the UK's frontiers.As a consequence of this position on frontiers, the United Kingdom has not participated in certain measures relating to external borders. However, the UK has co-operated with European Union partners in tackling illegal immigration and people trafficking. These are international problems that require international solutions. The new Constitutional Treaty will continue to provide a legal base for the Union to take appropriate action in these areas.For further information about the Government's position on the articles in the draft Constitutional Treaty dealing with the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, as presented to the Convention by the Praesidium on 14 March, I refer the hon. Member to the Explanatory Memorandum deposited by my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (Denis MacShane) on 2 June.