Sunday

23rd Sep 2018

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us