The Home Office and Ministry of Justice have prepared the sixth and seventh annual reports 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 (Cm 9488). The reports, which are today being laid before the House, are submitted on behalf of both my own Department and that of the Secretary of State for Justice. Copies of the Command Paper are available from the Vote Office and on gov.uk.
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 sixth report covers decisions taken over the period 1 December 2014 to 30 November 2015. In that period, decisions on UK participation in 23 EU JHA legislative proposals have been taken. The UK has decided to opt in under the JHA opt-in protocol in 11 cases and has decided not to opt in in 13 cases (this includes one decision on an international agreement where the UK opted into one set of JHA provisions in the measure, and did not opt into another). The Government have not asserted the Schengen opt-out to any proposals during that period.
The seventh report covers decisions taken over the period 1 December 2015 to 30 November 2016. In that period, decisions on UK participation in 36 EU JHA legislative proposals have been taken. The UK has decided to opt in under the JHA opt-in protocol in 12 cases and has decided not to opt in in 24 cases. The Government have not asserted the Schengen opt-out to any proposals during that period.
These opt-in decisions are without prejudice to discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The UK’s relationship with the EU will change as a result of leaving the EU. However, the UK retains the rights and obligations of membership of the EU while we remain a member.