Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has asked the Government a series of Parliamentary Questions concerning international trade to uncover what steps the Government is taking to prepare the UK for its departure from the European Union.
They have shone a light on a series of actions being taken by the Government to utilise technology and diplomatic relations to promote international trade and enable businesses to make the most of the new opportunities that withdrawing from the European Union’s Customs Union will bring.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK citizens were subject to a European arrest warrant in 2013-14.
And to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many European Arrest Warrant requests levied against British citizens have been refused in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14.
Karen Bradley (Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime): In 2013-14, the National Crime Agency received 7,881 arrest warrants from other EU Member States, of which 132 (or 1.67%) were issued in respect of UK nationals.
In the financial year 2013-14, ten Arrest Warrants from Member States for British nationals were refused by the courts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Information is not held for the financial years 2011-12 and 2012-13.
||Financial year 2013-14
|Final court decisions on Arrest Warrants issued by Member States for the surrender of British Nationals
|Arrest Warrants for British nationals that were refused by the court
|Arrest Warrant for British nationals refused as a proportion of total of final court decisions.
Of the total number of surrenders from England, Wales and Northern Ireland between April 2009 and March 2014, over 95% (4,855 of 5,072) of people surrendered were foreign nationals and just over 4.3% (217 of 5,072) were British nationals. By way of comparison, in non-Arrest Warrant cases over a similar period 40% of those extradited have been British nationals.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I thank the Minister for giving way. My question is fairly simple. A promise was made that a referendum would be held so that the British people could have their say on the EU constitution: will the Government apologise for not providing that referendum?
Douglas Alexander (Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Labour): I am not entirely clear that that intervention was worth waiting for. I hope that the hon. Gentleman has been listening to my remarks, and that he will also attend the debate that will take place in this House ahead of the European Council in just seven days’ time.
Strengthening economic co-operation between the EU and the US is also a priority for the UK, as was made clear at Prime Minister’s Question Time today. We will want to build on the work under way in the context of this month’s EU-US summit and demonstrate clear progress in breaking down barriers to trade and investment in key areas.
The European Council next week will look at the EU budget for the period 2007 to 2013. That debate is part of the wider debate on how Europe responds to globalisation. Where can EU spending bring the greatest added value? That is the question. We think that the answer is clear, and it is that we must reduce the income gap between old and new member states and provide Europe with the means to strengthen research and development in the most competitive sectors of the global economy. We are convinced that the EU can do that within a budget of 1 per cent. of EU gross national income.
Of course, there is a lot of talk across Europe at present about the UK rebate. The rebate exists because of the particularly low level of UK receipts from the EU and our above average contributions to the EU budget. That situation has not changed since the Fontainebleau summit of 1984, to which reference has been made already in this debate. It will not change in the next decade either. That is why the rebate remains justified and why we will use the veto, as is our right, to defend our national interest.
As I have said, the EU’s future prosperity depends on being able to compete in a global world. That requires strong economic performance, but it also means having strong political partnerships across the globe.