The latest work programme from the EU shows little let up in the manic energy to regulate, legislate and continue its wish to impose its will on most of our government activities and law making. There are 38 proposals in energy, 66 in so called financial stability and many others from everything from competition to agriculture and from fishing to the digital economy. There are no nooks and crannies of our daily lives free from further EU intrusion.
I wish to concentrate on some of the measures in the 39 proposals for Home affairs. The secret is in the name. These matters used to be regarded as central to a member state’s own powers and self definition. The UK used to opt out of all these things, and used to insist on them being undertaken by unanimity to protect state independence and national democratic control. Now under Mrs May and with the active encouragement of Labour and the Lib Dems more and more of our controls over borders, entry requirements, visas, serious crime, terrorism and the movement of people is passing to the EU.
Central to this latest drive to EU control is the issue of migration, refugees and border controls. The EU is waiving visa requirements for Turkey and Ukraine. We have been assured this does not apply to the UK. It does mean however, if more people abuse the visa free system to establish themselves in another EU country they could become eligible in due course to come to the UK under freedom of movement rules.
Of more concern are the proposals to have an EU wide resettlement system and the proposed revisions to asylum application processing. Under 2016/Home 078 we are promised “greater international solidarity of the EU towards countries hosting large numbers of refugees”. Is the UK opted out, as it claims to be an EU wide system? Will we see quotas re-emerge? How will people be made to move from one country to another, and how do you require them to stay in the country the EU allocates if they wish to move elsewhere?
The intentions of the EU are obvious. They wish to reimpose common frontiers and move away from all asylum applications taking place in the first country of arrival, as that puts too much stress on Italy and Greece. The EU wants the UK to take part in a sharing of the pressures. The UK government says it has kept out of it, but the work programme is for an EU wide scheme. Even if the UK manages to defends its opt out i n due course, once people have been accepted into the Schengen area they soon qualify for freedom of movement to come to the UK if they wish.
2016/Home 075 states their will be new rules over which country is to handle an application for asylum when a migrant seeks asylum on entering an EU country. The old rule stated they had to seek asylum in the first EU country they reached. This new system implies “fair sharing” of asylum requests. Again it suggests some kind of quota system.
The EU is taking more and powers over borders and migration. Many of its members wish it to do so. If the UK stays in its position is going to become untenable. Mrs May has given great ground to the EU in other Home affairs surrounding criminal justice. More power could go soon on borders if we do not leave.