Select Committee on European Scrutiny Fifteenth Report


ADAPTATION OF THE COMMON CONSULAR INSTRUCTIONS


(a)

(23056)

14292/01


(b)

(23057)

13835/01



Draft Decision on the adaptation of Part III and the creation of an Annex 16 to the Common Consular Instructions.


Draft Decision on the adaptation of Part III and the creation of an Annex 16 to the Common Consular Instructions.

Legal base:Council Regulation (EC) No 7981/01 reserving to the Council implementing powers with regard to certain detailed provisions and practical procedures for examining visa applications; — ; unanimity of participating States
Deposited in Parliament:9 January 2002
Department:Home Office
Basis of consideration:EM of 21 January 2002
Previous Committee Report:None
To be discussed in Council:Date not set
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Not cleared; further information requested


Background

  7.1  The Common Consular Instructions on Visas constitute the operational instructions to the consular authorities of the Schengen States. They need frequent updating. The UK has not applied to participate in those parts of the Schengen acquis which relate to visa requirements and does not follow the procedures set out in the Common Consular Instructions.

The documents

  7.2  Document (a) is a later version of the same draft Decision as document (b). The proposal introduces a harmonised visa application form to be used by the Schengen Consulates for issuing visas. It also creates an additional annex to which a specimen of the harmonised visa application form would be annexed.

The Government's view

  7.3  The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Angela Eagle) tells us: "Given that this Decision concerns the procedures for amending an element of the Schengen acquis on visas in which the United Kingdom is not participating, it will not apply to the UK". She states that the proposal has no policy implications for the United Kingdom.

Conclusion

  7.4  We do not normally report on adaptations to the Common Consular Instructions since, as the Minister says, they amend an element of the Schengen acquis in which the United Kingdom does not participate. However, in paragraph 1 of this report, we recommend the Draft Council Directive on the status of third-country national who are long-term residents for debate. In that paragraph, we quote from the Minister's letter of 3 January as follows: "We must ensure that our colleagues in Europe have clear, transparent and quick visa procedures to allow those residing in the United Kingdom to enter the Schengen area".

  7.5  In view of the fact that the United Kingdom is playing no part in agreeing the harmonised visa application form, and indeed does not participate in any elements of the Schengen acquis relating to visa requirements, we ask the Minister how she can exert influence to ensure that procedures are "clear, transparent and quick".

  7.6  We also ask the Minister to explain why the UK participates in the uniform format for visas, but not in the harmonised Schengen visa application form. Does the UK have its own visa application form and, if so, does it differ significantly from the Schengen version?

  7.7  We shall keep the documents under scrutiny until we have her response.


 
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