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Committee reports on EU level playing field proposals and UK participation in Schengen Information System

22 July 2020

In its latest report, the European Scrutiny Committee considers recent draft EU legislation and policy documents deposited in Parliament by the Government.

Each document is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum from the relevant Minister. The Committee examines the legal and political importance of the document and where appropriate asks further questions of the Government about its implications. The Committee also has the power to recommend documents for debate.

In its latest report, published today, the Committee highlights the importance of several documents, and how it intends to follow up with Government. These include:

BEIS – EU White Paper on the ‘level playing field’: addressing distortions caused by foreign subsidies

Important because:

  • This document outlines proposals for a new tool allowing the EU to penalise firms within or exporting to the Single Market if they are receiving government subsidies or other forms of State Aid from non-EU countries.

Although thought to be primarily aimed at China, and yet to be translated into legislation, the White Paper has clear potential implications for British businesses and may also give the EU additional powers to intervene in the Northern Ireland economy via the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. The Committee will therefore monitor the progress of the proposals as they pass through the EU legislative process.

HO – UK participation in the Schengen Information System

Important because:

  • The documents concern planned changes to the Schengen Information System (SIS II) to be completed by the end of 2021, and highlight “serious deficiencies” in the UK’s application of the current rules. This may jeopardise UK participation in SIS II or similar data sharing systems after the end of the transition period.

UK law enforcement has been able to access real-time SIS II data since April 2015, and the Government is seeking to agree a similar arrangement with the EU, as part of the future relationship negotiations. By contrast, the EU has ruled out sharing data with the UK that has been “processed in databases established on the basis of EU law”. The Committee’s report notes the short time available to reach an agreement on the matter.

The Committee has written to the Minister for Security, James Brokenshire MP, requesting further information on how the UK is addressing the “serious deficiencies” in its implementation of SIS II and the Government’s view on the suitability of existing precedents for third-country access to SIS II under agreements concluded by the EU with four non-EU Schengen countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

Further information

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