The Government acknowledge the efforts of the Commission to address the ongoing migration crisis, but has decided not to opt in to the justice and home affairs content in the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending regulation (EC) No 768/2005 establishing a European Fisheries Control Agency.
The proposal—which has now been adopted—forms part of a wider package of measures by the Commission to improve collaboration and co-ordination between the newly named European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), formerly Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA), member states, the proposed European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the existing European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to support national authorities carrying out their coast guard functions.
The amendment will formally establish co-operation for the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences by giving EFCA powers to share information and intelligence, such as the data currently accessible through ship reporting, and to provide services, equipment and training. The ECFA will be able to co-ordinate multi-purpose operations, and facilitate building capacity and asset sharing; it also will increase its control and inspection activities.
Although there is little practical or operational benefit for the UK from this measure, the Government maintain that their effect amounts to an obligation that falls within the scope of the justice and home affairs section of the Treaties and is, therefore, subject to the UK’s JHA opt-in. It is on that basis that the Government have decided not to opt in.