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Judicial Co-operation

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2006, Official Report, column 1245W, on judicial co-operation, what the Government’s position was on the use of the passerelle clause at the Justice and Home Affairs Informal Council at Tampere; what the Government’s policy is on the use of the passerelle clause in this area; and if she will make a statement. (97380)

The Government welcome efforts to take forward EU co-operation in Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), in line with the Hampton Court delivery agenda.

The Government’s position at Tampere was that it welcomed the debate and that it was only right to examine whether there are ways to improve the way we make decisions in JHA.

However, the Government stated furthermore that we would need to be fully satisfied that any changes to the existing arrangements would genuinely improve the decision-making process, and that such a move would need to be in the UK’s national interest. It is, as yet, unclear whether the Finnish Presidency will bring forward further work in this area during their Presidency, but the Government consider the current debate to be over. We will, however, keep the House informed of any developments.