Monday, 16 January 2012


Roger Helmer posts on a recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights which says that asylum seekers may not be transferred to another Member State where they could be "in danger of being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment". Whilst correctly identifying a disparity between the treatment of immigrants and British citizens where the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is concerned, Helmer ends thus:
"Secondly, we need a radical review of the EAW. If we can’t introduce robust safeguards, we should opt out of it completely."
Agreement on the introduction of the EAW was reached by EU member states at the Laeken Summit in December 2001 and the Framework Decision (2002/584/jha) was formally adopted on 13 June 2002; entering into force on 7 August 2003, the deadline for final implementation by member states being 31 December 2003. The EAW thus became effective in the UK on 1st January 2004 and also in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. By April 2005 all the remaining member states had implemented the legislation.

Now whilst I stand to be corrected, it is my belief that if a Member State secures an opt out of various matters in a piece of EU legislation, it can always at a later date reverse that decision and opt in. However, when a Member State, at the outset, in effect opts in, the exit door is already firmly shut - there can be no subsequent opt out. The UK accepted the EAW legislation in its entirity and did not secure any opt outs - whereas Holland refused to extradite Dutch nationals under the EAW unless the accusing state agrees that they can serve any prison sentence in a Dutch jail. Belgium secured an opt-out so that the warrant did not cover abortion and, I believe it is correct to say, Germany imposed a “proportionality rule” stating that only those accused of 'serious' crimes can be seized under a warrant..

As with the question about the repatriation of powers, methinks Roger Helmer is also delusional about opting out of the European Arrest Warrant.


john in cheshire said...

Doesn't this demonstrate that there is something very wrong at the heart of the English Civil Service?

IanPJ said...

As one of her first official acts, Theresa May extended the powers of the EAW by signing up to the European Investigation Order.

Both are now impossible to opt out.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic: The entire political and bureaucratic establishment stinks!

IPJ: Good point - should have mentioned that! (slapped wrists here!)