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Schengen Agreement (Correction to Written Answer)

Volume 516: debated on Thursday 14 October 2010

I regret to inform that House that there were inaccuracies in an answer to parliamentary questions 15306, 15307, 15308, 15309, 15310 and 15391 (linked) on 15 September 2010, Official Report, columns 1077-78W.

The response contained inaccurate statistics and referred to measures which are not the responsibility of the Home Office and which are therefore outside the scope of the question.

I can confirm that the answer should have read as follows:

“The tables placed in the Libraries of both Houses set out measures for which the Home Secretary is responsible which have been presented to the Council pursuant to title IV of the treaty establishing the European Community (“TEC pre-Lisbon measures”) and title V of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union (“TFEU post-Lisbon measures” from 1 December 2009) attracting the UK opt-in.

They also set out measures presented following the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty pursuant to those elements of the Schengen acquis in which the UK participates (the police and criminal justice elements) and, pre-Lisbon those measures building on Schengen from which the UK was excluded.

The Lisbon treaty introduced a right for the UK to opt out of Schengen building measures where we were automatically bound prior to its entry into force.

There is one “mixed” measure currently under negotiation which includes provisions which build on those elements of the Schengen acquis to which we are bound: a Council regulation to establish an agency for the purposes of managing existing IT systems in the area of Justice and Home Affairs. The deadline by which the UK had to notify its decision to opt out of that measure was 21 June 2010; the UK made no such notification. The regulation also includes ex-title IV TEC (now title V TFEU) provisions to which the UK opted in on 23 September 2009.

Following the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty, excluding the IT agency, there have been 14 measures for which the Home Office has responsibility to which the title V TFEU opt-in has applied. The UK has opted in to nine and out of three, and is considering a further two published proposals where the Government will take a decision within three months. There have been three measures to which the Schengen opt-out applied (excluding the IT agency). The UK is participating in all three.

Additional information on the dates when all these measures were presented, when the UK signalled its acceptance at the Council, when they were adopted and entered into force are not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. However, all decisions to opt-in to or out of JHA measures are notified to Parliament at the time they are made. The first annual report will be presented to Parliament in December providing retrospective information on the UK’s application of the opt-in protocol from 1 December 2009 to 1 December 2010, a year since the Lisbon treaty came into force”.

Table 1 and table 2 referred to in the corrected answer will be placed in the House Libraries.