I have been away and missed and thus not commented on three small steps made to improve the co-operation and relationship between the UK and the European Union. The areas of policy are science and research, settlement rights for EU citizens in the UK and relationship with Frontex.
The first is that the government finally signed up to Horizon Europe, the European Union’s R&D programme; this will be of advantage to scientists and private sector researchers but also everyone as the research has a multiplier effect and for some, investment in human capital is the most effective investment for stimulating GDP growth.
The government have also announced the automatic extension of pre-settled status to allow those that have not applied for conversion to settled status, the time to do so. It seems that the judicial arguments between the Independent Monitoring Authority and the government seem to have been settled, but there may have been more in the pipeline. Any failure to treat those entitled to remain in the UK often having been born here, and or, lived here for decades would be an illegal act. This would include applying the hostile environment to them and charging them the NHS surcharge. No doubt, whatever the motives, this is a good thing.
The government is in negotiation with the EU to improve its relationship with Frontex, the troubled EU border agency. Even if only about intelligence sharing, this is a step in the right direction away from the hard Brexit that the Tories negotiated which led to the UK being excluded from Frontex and interpol because the member states don;t want to share information with nations that don;t accept the Charter of Fundamental Rights. And as the Guardian comments, it is Sunak’s third agreement with the EU. It’ll be interesting to see how far this one goes as the critical issues are not on intelligence sharing, although I am sure the UK will find it useful, but in order to get agreement from the EU to take illegal entrants back, we’ll have to agree to accept those that have the right to enter. It would be an act of solidarity with the government and people of Greece and Italy to accept some of their migrants. Kier Starmer seems to be struggling at where to draw the line. The FT (pay or id walled) covers this well and better than most, reporting on Starmer’s position, adding a longer piece by George Parker in London, William Wallis in Lewes, Andy Bounds in Brussels and Laura Dubois in Strasbourg on the dangers of a Tory counter attack; Starmer’s words are also reported in the Times and Star. Labour’s language has not moved on from pandering to the view that immigration is bad. I repeat my posed dilemma, we need workers, skilled and unskilled, we should want students, and we have a duty to accept refugees; who do we seek to stop. While if even the Tories are looking to work with the EU and Frontex, solving the problem with decency and justice will take a lot more.
Originally published at https://davelevy.info on September 19, 2023.