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Home Office papers on Justice and Home Affairs opt-in and Schengen opt-out protocols: background, decisions taken and scrutiny code of practice
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The UK Home Office has published three papers explaining the UK's opt-in to EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) measures and its opt-out on Schengen issues. These opt-ins and opt-outs were one of the ways in which the UK already had a 'special relationship' with the EU prior to the attempted renegotiations that took place before the Brexit referendum.

JHA opt-in and Schengen opt-out protocols (Home Office, link):

"The UK’s participation in EU legislation on Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) is principally governed by protocols 19 and 21 to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, collectively often referred to as the Lisbon Treaty.

The background document covers:

  • an explanations of the protocols
  • the government’s approach to participation in EU JHA legislation
  • the scrutiny arrangements for decisions on participation in EU JHA legislation
  • the annual report to Parliament on the JHA opt-in

The decision document describes JHA (Title V) opt-in and Schengen opt-out decisions taken between 1 December 2009 and the present. It lists the proposals, plus those the government is currently considering and those on which a decision is expected in the next few months.

The code of practice provides guidance for government officials on the handling of parliamentary scrutiny aspects of justice and home affairs opt-in and Schengen opt-out decisions. This code of practice outlines the actions government departments will take to ensure opt-in and Schengen opt-out decisions take into account the views of Parliament."

Documentation (pdfs)

See: Analyses by Steve Peers: The UK’s planned ‘block opt -out’ from EU justice and policing measures in 2014 (October 2012, pdf) and: The UK opt-out from Justice and Home Affairs law: the other Member States finally lose patience (March 2014, pdf)

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