UK e-Borders Scheme Could Face Axe Under EU Law

The UK Government plans to roll out the £1.2 billion e-Boarders programme have been dealt a blow after a committee of MPs warned that such a system might be illegal under the EU treaty.

The group, headed by labour MP, Keith Vaz, said that keeping a log of all travellers entering or leaving the country from other European countries would be a violation of the EU Treaty.

Calling for the programme to be halted, Keith Vaz, who is acting as the chairman of the committee, declared that "The major stumbling block, and a very disappointing oversight, is that we are sure that what the programme requires will be illegal under the EU Treaty."

He further stated that "The programme is intended to cost the taxpayer £1.2 billion and may be illegal. It is shocking that money has already been spent on a programme which could never be implemented."

The group of MP calls for the project to be temporarily halted but the UK Border & Immigration Minister Phil Woolas argued that the e-Borders was fully compliant with EU Law and claims that this was confirmed by the EU Commission.

The UK Government wanted to boost the e-Borders programme - a joint venture between the UKBA and Trusted Borders Consortium - to make it run at 60 percent of its capacity by the end of 2009 and is expected to be fully operational by 2014.

Our Comments

The fact that Keith Vaz is a Labour MP is quite embarrassing; rather than quietly asking his colleague, Phil Woolas, about potential issues that the e-Borders programme might encounter, he decided instead to publicly question the government's plans.

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