international crime and terrorism nor just by ensuring greater legal certainty

International crime and terrorism nor just by

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international crime and terrorism, nor just by ensuring greater legal certainty, but by ensuring that at every stage the United Kingdom is not forced to participate in anything that we do not want to participate in. Since 1999, we have opted into 42 immigration or asylum measures and 15 civil law measures—the so-called pillar 1—when that has been in our national interests. But we have not opted into 75 immigration or asylum measures and three civil law measures, because we decided that they were not in our interests. The treaty provides the flexibility to ensure that when something is not in our interests, we will be able to stand back. Measure by measure, we retain the right to choose. As the European Scrutiny Committee concluded, it was “clear from the ‘opt-in’ arrangements that the United Kingdom is free to decide whether or not to take part...and to that extent is able to protect the distinctive features of the legal systems of the UK”. Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington and Chelsea) (Con) rose— David Miliband: I am happy to give way on that point. Sir Malcolm Rifkind: The Foreign Secretary is entitled to say that in justice and home affairs, the Government can demonstrate flexibility—essentially, by working la carte with Europe on that matter. Does he not draw the conclusion that that might be the basis on which, across a whole spectrum of EU policy, the United Kingdom could be comfortable in its EU membership in years to come, even if some member states wished to go much further towards integration? David Miliband: I do not think that la carte is the right approach when it comes to the single market, for example; I do not think that we can opt into some sectors and not others. However, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying that there should be provision for enhanced co-operation in certain areas rather than others, as is being proposed in the treaty in respect of defence, that is sensible.
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Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): Before my right hon. Friend moves off criminal matters, may I remind him of article 82, paragraph 2 of the consolidated texts? It refers to minimum rules on co-operation in the criminal justice system and goes on to say: “Adoption of the minimum rules referred to in this paragraph shall not prevent Member States from maintaining or introducing a higher level of protection for individuals.” Is that not precisely what we want—so that our citizens, who may encounter criminal justice systems in any of the other 26 member states, have some minimum protection? David Miliband: I do not know how that article slipped my mind; my hon. Friend has made an important point. Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Just now, the Foreign Secretary said that we had opted into 42 immigration and asylum measures, but had 11 Mar 2008 : Column 158 retained a choice. Will he confirm that when we have opted in, we do not retain a choice? We can never opt out; it is a one-way option with no chance of opting out in the light of experience.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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