Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to opt out of 130 areas of EU Justice and Home Affairs policies has been met with some confusion. It is indeed good to finally have a government opt out of an EU policy area. Particularly welcome is the withdrawal from the dreaded European Arrest Warrant.
But with the ying, there is the yang. One of the first acts of the new government, two years ago, was to sign up to the EU’s European Investigation Order. In what was seen as an accomplice of the Arrest Warrant, the Investigation Order aims to have foreign courts direct British police forces and transfer personal data to foreign authorities. The latter is bad enough, but previous experience has shown we can’t even trust our own government with personal information. Privacy groups, naturally, were deeply opposed to this opt in. Where does the government stand on the European Investigation Order now?
Then, just a few minutes after announcing the opt-out, the Home Secretary announced that the government could opt back into EU Justice and Home Affairs policies at some point in the future.
In reaction to this, an unnamed German politician simply said “Britain should just leave” the EU. We agree with them.