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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to deny visa-waived entrance to EU passport holders who carry passports without modern security features.[128661]

Under EC law, EU nationals must be admitted to the United Kingdom if they produce, on arrival, a valid passport or national identity card issued by an EU State, regardless of the security features contained in those documents. Therefore there are no plans to introduce visa requirements for EU passport or identity card holders.

The European Community currently has a general power that would enable it to agree provisions on security features on identity cards, residence permits and passports on the basis of unanimity. This will be reinforced under the draft Constitutional Treaty which will provide a specific unanimity legal base and will raise the profile of EU competency in this area.

This will allow the European Community to actively press for improved levels of security and quality in all member states' identity documents.