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Schengen Area

Volume 707: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered joining the Schengen area; whether they have discussed doing so with the Government of the Republic of Ireland; and whether the Republic of Ireland joining the Schengen area would affect the United Kingdom. [HL680]

The UK’s position in Schengen is kept under review and any decision to participate as a full member of Schengen would be taken on its merits and in consultation with the Irish authorities in view of the shared common travel area.

Currently there are no plans for the UK to apply the Schengen acquis in full as we believe that maintaining our frontier controls is the most effective way to combat international and organised crime and to prevent immigration abuse. Similarly the Republic of Ireland has not agreed to participate in the border control aspects of the Schengen agreement.

If the Republic of Ireland were to decide to apply the Schengen acquis in full we would need to assess the impact on our border security. We continue to work with our EU partners to ensure that we play as full a part as possible in the management of migration into and within the EU.