- Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 18:55
Plans to regain power from Brussels are likely to be announced shortly by the UK’s Home Secretary.
Theresa May is preparing to tell MPs that the Government will exercise its opt-out from a large “block” of EU powers covering crime, justice and policing - including the controversial European arrest warrant.
In 2010 some 1,335 people were sent for trial in other EU member states after being held on the European arrest warrant. The cost is estimated to be some £27miillion in addition to stretching Britain’s justice system. In 2008 there were 351 such cases.
On the other hand, without the warrant, suspected criminals could be able to stay in the UK.
Mrs May’s statement will confirm that Britain intends to take up its right under the Lisbon Treaty to opt out from justice and home affairs powers by 2014. Under a complex process, the UK will then start negotiating with Brussels to opt back into those laws the government feels are in the national interest.
The move to an opt-out in the field of home affairs and justice is the first part of repatriating powers from Brussels which will last at least until the 2014 elections to the European Parliament.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has ordered a cross-Whitehall “audit” of EU powers which could be taken back - including areas such as immigration, limits on working hours, plans for a Europe-wide public prosecutor with sweeping powers of investigation and arrest, as well as human rights.
The announcement will come days before Mr Cameron travels to Brussels for a summit at which leaders will hold further talks on the formation of a European banking union affecting eurozone countries.
Britain will not be part of the banking union - which would see the European Central Bank (ECB) given the role of supervisor, with extensive powers to regulate banks - but is insisting on safeguards to protect its own financial services sector. Banking union needs the unanimous backing of all 27 EU member states before it can go ahead.
Prime Minister Cameron on a recent trip to Brazil said there is current discussion on the areas which “are good for Britain and which you want to cooperate with European partners on”.