Until the UK leaves it remains a full member of the European Union with all the rights and responsibilities this entails. The Government will continue to consider the application of the UK’s right to opt in to, or opt out of, forthcoming EU legislation in the area of Justice and Home Affairs on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting our civil liberties and enhancing our ability to control immigration.
The Government has decided to opt-in to Council Decisions authorising negotiations between the EU and Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria to conclude agreements on the exchange of personal data with Europol.
The UK values the role of Europol in helping law enforcement agencies coordinate investigations in cross border serious and organised crime and terrorism. As Europol doesn’t currently have data sharing agreements with any other countries in the Mediterranean and North African region, these agreements could help to increase the security of the UK through helping to improve counter-terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration efforts in that region.
Opting in provides an opportunity for us to influence the negotiation of these agreements, including to ensure that UK concerns around human rights are reflected.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords