The British Home Secretary made an announcement to the UK parliament, on Tuesday 9 July on the UK’s position regarding its opt-out provided for under Protocol 36 to the Lisbon Treaty concerning pre-Lisbon EU criminal justice and police cooperation measures. The decision is that the UK will be opting-out on 1 December 2014 from the pre-Lisbon police and criminal law cooperation measures, but will seek to rejoin 35 measures, including the European Arrest Warrant and certain other measures which it regards as important tools to maintain effective operational EU police and judicial cooperation. The decision announced by the Home Secretary on Tuesday is subject to a vote in the UK parliament next week.
The UK decision is likely to have implications for Ireland and all other EU Member States. I have previously raised the matter in discussions with members of the UK government. I expressed concerns over the possible implications of the proposed opt out for the excellent and and extensive cooperation between the respective law enforcement authorities of Ireland and the UK, much of which takes place within the framework of EU law. It is particularly important that the cooperation between the two jurisdictions in tackling so-called dissident republican activity should not be hindered, and I emphasised the vital role of the European Arrest Warrant in this regard. Accordingly I very much welcome the UK's stated intention to seek to opt back into the European Arrest Warrant.
Ireland will examine the detailed implications of the UK's announcement. It is intended to liaise closely with the UK authorities and with other EU Member States with a view to ensuring that levels of EU criminal law cooperation are maintained to the greatest degree possible.