Thursday

25th Feb 2021

UK to sign up to EU arrest warrant despite Tory rebellion

  • Workers clean Big Ben - the British parliament's iconic clock tower (Photo: UK Parliament)

UK MPs are set to sign up to a package of 35 EU justice laws, including the controversial European Arrest Warrant (EAW), despite a rebellion among Conservative deputies.

The House of Commons will debate and vote on the package on Monday (10 November).

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

Although up to 100 MPs in David Cameron's Conservative party are expected to defy the government, support from the opposition Labour party and the Liberal Democrats is likely ensure a sizeable majority.

The vote comes at a difficult time for David Cameron, whose party is likely to lose a second by-election to the UK independence party (Ukip) later this month.

Ukip, along with right-wing Conservative MPs, has long campaigned against the EAW.

The UK secured the right to opt in or out of EU justice policy as part of its deal on the 2010 Lisbon treaty. The Conservative-led government in Westminster opted out of 133 pieces of EU justice law in 2013, but drew up a list of 35 laws that it wants to sign back up to.

It has a 1 December deadline to formally decide what it wishes to opt-in to.

The EAW serves as an EU-wide extradition system and came into force in 2004. Graham Watson, a former Liberal MEP for South-West England, piloted the bill through the European Parliament.

As a backbench MP, Cameron himself voted against ratifying the warrant.

Despite being one of Cameron's more eurosceptic ministers, home secretary Theresa May has led support for signing up to the EAW stating that the government would campaign "loudly and clearly" for MPs to back it.

In a letter to Yvette Cooper, Labour's home affairs spokesperson, May described the EU laws as "vitally important to our police and law enforcement agencies."

The package "helps us to tackle cross-border crimes, deport foreign criminals, track down those who seek to evade the law, and bring them to justice," she added.

Meanwhile, a group of 40 judges and legal experts warned that Britain would become a "safe haven for fugitives from justice" if it did not sign up in an open letter to The Daily Telegraph last week.

The EAW allowed Britain to extradite one of the suspects planning a second terrorist attack on London in July 2005, two weeks after the 7/7 attack which killed more than 50 people.

A survey by pollsters YouGov found that 56 percent of Britons supporting opting in to the warrant.

However, critics say that rapid extradition is not always conducive with justice and that the system makes it too easy for UK citizens to be extradited on relatively minor charges to countries where they might not receive a fair trial.

UK to scrap 100 EU justice laws

The UK wants to retain 35 out of some 130 EU-wide police and justice laws in its wider efforts to claw back power from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Armenian prime minister denounces 'coup' attempt
  2. UK warns EU against escalating City-of-London battle
  3. Brussels mulls extending data-roaming regime for 10 years
  4. Full list of European firms US forced to ditch Russia pipeline
  5. French diplomat calls Johnson 'inveterate liar'
  6. French town's switch to vegetarian meals prompts backlash
  7. Police seize 23 tonnes of cocaine in Europe's biggest haul
  8. WHO Covax programme delivers first vaccines to Ghana

Opinion

Questions for Germany on EU's Russia strategy

Suspension or cancellation of Nord Stream 2 does not call for a drawn-out search for unanimity by the EU's foreign ministers, nor complex ratification procedures in the European Parliament or member states' parliaments, write three former EU prime ministers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Who are the EU's new Russian deplorables?
  2. Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea
  3. EU leaders face Covid-mutations dilemma at summit
  4. EU sets out plan to mitigate 'unavoidable' climate events
  5. Questions for Germany on EU's Russia strategy
  6. Greenland's snap election exposes global mineral demand
  7. Covid-19 certificates back on EU leaders' agenda
  8. Ethiopia war creating new 'refugee crisis', EU envoy warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us