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EU Justice and Home Affairs Matters

Volume 592: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2015

The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice have prepared the fifth annual report to Parliament on the application of protocols 19 and 21 to the treaty on European Union (TEU) and the treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU)—“the treaties”—in relation to EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) matters. The report, which is today being laid before the House, is submitted on behalf of both my own Department and that of the Secretary of State for Justice.

On 9 June 2008 the then Leader of the House of Lords committed to table a report in Parliament each year setting out the decisions taken by the Government in accordance with protocol 21—“the Justice and Home Affairs opt-in protocol”—and to make that report available for debate. These commitments were designed to ensure that the views of the Scrutiny Committees should inform the Government’s decision-making process.

The Minister for Europe confirmed this commitment on behalf of the coalition Government in 2011, and this is the fifth such report. It covers the period 1 December 2013 to 30 November 2014. For completeness, the report also covers the application of protocol 19 to the treaties on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the EU—“the Schengen opt-out protocol”.

Over the period covered in the report, the Government took 33 decisions on UK participation in EU Justice and Home Affairs legislative proposals. Of these, the UK opted in to 21 proposals and did not opt in to 10 proposals. The Government have also taken two decisions to opt out of proposals under the Schengen opt-out protocol during the period covered by this report. At the point of publication, two EU legislative proposals are subject to ministerial and parliamentary consideration with regard to an opt-in decision. The report also provides an indicative list of legislative proposals which are expected to be brought forward over the next 12 months that are likely to require a decision on UK participation under the Justice and Home Affairs opt-in or Schengen opt-out protocols.