Tuesday, January 25, 2005

EU: Michael Howard of the Tories puts up his immigration plans, the EU says no, we are in control of your borders. David Rennie points out how it happened.

"The simple answer is: bit by bit, without great public controversy, and with the full agreement of British officials, led largely by David Blunkett, at each stage. The project began in October 1999 at an EU summit of heads of government in Tempere, Finland. The prime ministers and presidents assembled there came up with an ambitious pledge: to build a "Common European Asylum System", based on the "full and inclusive application of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees". Bowing to political realities, they came up with a more realistic short-term goal, the drawing up of minimum standards for the treatment of asylum seekers across the EU. The work was divided into four planks, starting with the easiest first. Three of those four "paving directives" have already been agreed by EU justice and home affairs ministers, and are now binding on Britain and the other member states. These dictate, broadly, where asylum seekers must lodge their claims, how they should be housed and treated while their claims are processed, and what makes someone a refugee. Britain, protected by the need for unanimous agreement on questions of immigration, voluntarily gave up its right to opt out of each directive. A waiver on all immigration matters was granted to Britain in 1997, but has never been used. The waiver is still being held in reserve by British diplomats, for possible use once the EU moves to qualified majority voting for immigration matters."

The European Union ministers were also heard chanting.

"WHO'S YOUR DADDY? clap clap clap clap clap .... WHO'S YOUR DADDY? clap clap clap clap clap...."

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