» Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Asked to shed any light on what appeared to be conflicting report on a "points system" for economic migrants, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he could not, as there would be a Five Year Plan published on the subject in a matter of weeks. He stressed that the announcement of the Five Year Plan had been in the system for a while, as the Government had been prefiguring for some time.

Put to him that in a letter to the Daily Telegraph, the former Home Secretary had said the Government was considering a points system, the PMOS repeated that it was better to leave it to an announcement of a Five Year Plan.

Asked about the Prime Minister’s thoughts for the freedom of our borders and asylum seekers, the PMOS said he had covered the question earlier. He recapped, that first, regarding opt-outs, we did not have to agree to anything in terms of EU Asylum Policy if we did not want to. Secondly, however, the EU agreement on asylum policy had worked in our favour – it was a positive not a negative. For this reason, asylum shopping used to be a big problem, causing, for example Sangatte and other pressures at the ports. The position now was, as a result of cooperating and making agreements with Europe, asylum seekers would be dealt with and processed in the first EU country that they land in. There was now an EU database that allowed us to identify what country that was, and we now had the ability to send 200 people per month back to the countries where the asylum seekers first arrived. He summarised by saying that European cooperation had helped, and not hindered us.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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