HL Deb 20 December 1989 vol 514 cc327-8WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the meetings of TREVI and European Community Immigration Ministers in Paris on 15th December.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)

The meeting of TREVI Ministers endorsed a number of measures to reinforce co-operation among member states in the fields of law enforcement and security. In particular, we agreed to do more to co-ordinate our efforts to combat drug trafficking and organised crime, and to co-operate in measures to prevent disorder at international football matches. We approved priorities for further work to develop co-operation in general, including the development of a network of liaison officers; speedier sharing of information; joint studies of scientific and technical aspects; and strengthening security at the external borders of the European Community.

The meeting of Ministers concerned with immigration, attended also by a Vice President of the Commission, was the seventh such meeting following the estabishment during the UK Presidency in 1986 of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Immigration.

Ministers had before them a report from senior officials which set out the work undertaken during the French Presidency and which was approved. In particular, we restated our desire for the conclusion of a convention determining which state should be responsible for examining an asylum application and we welcomed the opening of discussions on a draft convention on the crossing of external borders of the member states of the Community. Building on earlier discussions, the latter provides for controls to be operated to a common standard at member states' external frontiers and for the harmonisation of visa policies. It also includes proposals for the recognition of visas issued by other member states and in the longer term for a common visa. Although the United Kingdom is not at present in a position to agree to all these proposals, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary undertook that we would play a full and active part in discussing them.

My right honourable friend was pleased to make contact with Community colleagues at these meetings, at which two public declarations were also agreed upon, outlining the measures under development respectively in TREVI and in the immigration field with a view to completion of the single market. My right honourable friend will be arranging for copies of these declarations to be placed in the Library.