EU issues

 

Consideration by the Justice Committee

UK Government's 2014 opt-out decision 

The Committee monitored developments in relation to the UK Government's decision to opt out of 130 police and criminal justice measures adopted prior to the Lisbon Treaty and to re-join 35 individual measures. This decision came into effect on 1 December 2014. The Committee's correspondence on this matter can be found below: 

Subsidiarity

The principle of subsidiarity is that the EU shall only act where (a) it has exclusive competence; or (b) in areas of shared competence, only where the aims could not be achieved at a more appropriate level, whether that be at national, regional or local level. It is based on the presumption that, unless the EU has exclusive competence, action should be taken at the lowest level of government consistent with the subject matter and the objective.

The Committee examines all EU legislative proposals which have been identified by the UK Government and/or Scottish Government as raising concerns regarding compliance with the subsidiarity principle.

Proposal for a Council Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) (12558/13) and Proposal on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Co-operation (Eurojust) (12566/13)

On 3 September 2013, the Committee took evidence from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on proposals to (a) create a new independent European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) focused on EU fraud; and (b) reform Eurojuct. The Committee received two letters from the Cabinet Secretary in advance of this evidence session. The letters can be found below:

The Official Report of the meeting on 3 September can be found below:

The Committee agreed that the EPPO proposal does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity. The Parliament debated this report on 5 September and agreed with the Committee's position, as did the relevant committees of the Houser of Commons and the House of Lords. The Committee's report can be found below, along with correspondence from William Cash MP, Chairman of the EU Select Committee of the House of Commons:

Although the Committee concluded that the Eurojust proposal does comply with the subsidiarity principle, it agreed to write to the House of Commons and the House of Lords committees raising a number of concerns. this correspondence can be found below:

EU engagement plans 2015-16

The Committee has agreed to focus its EU engagement in 2015-16 on the following areas:

  • monitoring the EU's work on E-Justice in the context of the Scottish Government's own Digital Strategy in Scotland;
  • monitoring any potential relevance for the development of Scots law of proposed directives on the Presumption of Innocence, Procedural Safeguards for Children in Criminal Proceedings and Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings, and of negotiations on the EPPO for the work of the prosecution service in Scotland;
  • considering how the Commission's European Agenda on Migration is to include measures against people trafficking and smuggling;
  • considering any relevant issues arising from revised approach on the Scottish Government's Action Plan on European Engagement once available; and
  • examining the Justice and Home Affairs agenda 2015-16 once agreed.

The Committee's correspondence on its EU engagement work 2015-16 can be found below:

 
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