HC Deb 23 October 2002 vol 391 c336W
Mr. Malins

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his part in progress on common asylum and immigration policies in the EU. [75408]

Beverley Hughes

The Government, working with successive Presidencies and the Commission, has been instrumental in driving forward the European Union (EU) agenda on Immigration and Asylum. We have taken a key role in speeding agreement to a common package jointly to handle Asylum issues. We have taken action, with our partners, to enhance border protection and tackle transit routes. We have drawn attention to the scope for enhanced co-operation on returns and readmissions. We have been instrumental in focussing on the need for enhanced co-operation with source and transit countries. Effective, targetted and intelligence-led joint operations to tackle the traffickers is also a keynote of the Government's approach that has been taken up across the EU.

The joint Anglo-Spanish initiative at Seville resulted in a substantial impetus being given to the progress on migration and asylum at EU level, including action to strengthen the EU borders, tackle illegal immigration and target dates for reaching agreement on the remaining elements of the asylum package.