Saturday

28th May 2022

UK to turn back the clock on EU police co-operation

  • British policeman outside the PM's residence in 1967 - the UK wants to turn back the clock on EU co-operation (Photo: arbyreed)

British defence minister Philip Hammond has confirmed reports the UK will seek to end participation in dozens of EU-level crime-fighting structures.

Several British newspapers on Sunday (14 October) predicted that home affairs minister Theresa May will in parliament on Monday say the goverment is "minded to" opt-out of some 130 EU justice and home affairs programmes.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The list includes the European arrest warrant and the European criminal records information system, as well as future schemes to create an EU-level public prosecutor and a European investigation order, a protocol on EU countries' exchange of evidence in criminal cases.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK has an option until 2014 to walk away from the laws but can subsequently ask member states to opt back in to some of them.

The mass-circulation paper, the Daily Mail, on Sunday quoted education minister Michael Gove as saying: "We have to tell them [the EU] if they don't return some of the important powers they have snaffled from us, we will leave."

It cited figures saying the arrest warrant scheme costs the UK €33 million a year and that some EU countries, such as Poland, are abusing it by, for instance, asking the UK to catch and hand over a man who stole a wheelbarrow.

It noted that eight out of 32 British cabinet members would be happy for Britain to leave the Union altogether.

It also quoted work and pensions minister Ian Duncan Smith as saying: "The countries in the eurozone want to redefine what 'in' means. We need to redefine what 'out' looks like. That is the direction we are inevitably heading."

Speaking about the Daily Mail story in a BBC interview on national TV on Sunday, the British defence chief said: "What Michael [Gove] is reflecting, and many of us feel, is that we are not satisfied with the current relationship between the EU and the UK."

"For the first time in a decade, those of us who are uncomfortable with the way that relationship has developed see an opportunity to renegotiate it ... It makes sense for Britain to be in the single market but to reset the relationship so we have a balance of competences which works for Britain and the British people," Hammond added.

The home affairs move is likely to face opposition from the more pro-EU Liberal party in the British ruling coalition, however.

Its leader, Nick Clegg, a former EU official, has promised to veto the opt-out.

For his part, Vince Cable, the Liberals' business minister, said at a literary festival in Cheltenham, in the UK, also on Sunday that dismantling the EU is a dangerous business.

"We tend to forget, until we were reminded last week of that Nobel prize, the European project was constructed in order to rescue Europe from extreme nationalism and conflict. There is no automatic guarantee that won't return," he noted.

Lord Blair, the former British police chief, and Stephen Lander, the former head of the UK's domestic intelligence service, MI5, in a recent letter to British leaders also warned against the opt-out move.

"Responding to an increasingly international criminal environment requires modern international legal and policing tools, fast and effective cross-border co-operation, and the ability to raise standards and share best practice with our closest security partners," the two men wrote.

UK threatens to veto EU budget

British conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will block the upcoming EU seven-year budget cycle if it goes against UK interests.

UK promises thorough analysis of EU by 2014

The UK government has announced it will undertake a wide-ranging study of the EU so that any statements it makes about 'meddlesome' Brussels may be in future be backed up by hard evidence.

Opinion

Britain's harmful step

By withdrawing from no less than 130 criminal justice measures, the British government is on the way to destroying the great amount of work done over the last years, writes German centre-right MEP Manfred Weber.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us