FECL 11 (December 1992/January 1993):

EURO-SQUABBLE ON EUROPOL AND INTERNAL BORDER CONTROLS

The Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the 12 EC-Member States ended in disagreement. In respect to Europol, no agreement was reached on where to put its headquarters. The Ministers were split over whether Europol should have its headquarters in The Hague, Rome or a site near Strasbourg (see: CL No.9,p.1) and no agreement was reached on which countries should take over the permanent leadership of Europol.

The Ministers also failed to agree on ending internal border controls on people before the end of 1993, let alone by January 1. The London meeting was the last chance for ministers to agree a compromise solution before the end of this year - deadline for the barrier-free Single European Market.

In a last effort to reach a compromise, Mr. Martin Bangemann, EC internal market Commissioner, had proposed that all Member States should pledge to eliminate "systematic" internal border controls on people during 1993. But the British Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Kenneth Clarke, who chaired the meeting said afterwards that no Member State could promise to lift all passport checks.

Britain, Denmark and Ireland are opposed to the abolition of border controls.

Dutch diplomats complained that the UK should have pressed more for a positive outcome and Spanish officials expressed regret that their efforts to lift controls by the end of the year would now be undermined by delay (see also FECL No.6,p.7; No.7,p.7; No.9,p.4).

 

Sources: International Herald Tribune, 2.12.92; Financial Times, 1.12.92.