Shatter warns UK against ending involvement in EU justice measures
It would be a “mistake” for the UK to end its involvement in EU justice measures, the Minister for Justice has warned.
Such a move could have implications for the peace process since the measures were of “crucial importance” in dealing with terrorism and organised crime between the North and the Republic, Alan Shatter said yesterday after a two-day meeting of EU justice ministers in Dublin.
The UK government announced last year it wanted to be allowed to withdraw from measures it had signed up to at EU level on law enforcement and judicial co-operation. The issue could affect areas such as on Interpol, terrorism, organised crime and the exchange of “crucial information that protect people’s lives when there are threats”, Mr Shatter said.
“I am not entirely convinced that the full implications of opting out of the range of instruments were necessarily fully assessed when that announcement was made,” said Mr Shatter, who chaired the justice ministers’ meetings as part of the Republic’s EU presidency.
He said the European Arrest Warrant was one of the instruments used to deal with cross-Border crime in Ireland since it “readily facilitates the transfer of those charged with serious crime”. “I await to see the assessment on the implications for the peace process on this island and the very crucial co-operation that these instruments facilitate,” he added.
He said the Irish presidency was “very anxious to provide whatever assistance is necessary to resolve any concerns that exist”.
The justice ministers discussed an EU proposal on bankruptcy which would give “a second chance to companies which can survive”, European commissioner Viviane Reding said after the meeting.
The EU law would also try to tackle “bankruptcy tourism”, whereby people declare bankruptcy in other EU states with more favourable rules. It would oblige courts to assess if a debtor’s interest genuinely lay in the state in which they were applying for bankruptcy.
Ms Reding told ministers of problems with Irish and German debtors applying to UK courts for bankruptcy to take advantage of the shorter time period for bankruptcy to end.
The commissioner also said a new EU law on data protection could mean savings of €2.3 billion for internet companies.