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The Lisbon Treaty created the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ), which incorporated into the body of the Treaty the former intergovernmental Justice and Home Affairs areas. The UK retained an opt-in facility granted to the UK and Ireland under the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997.

To mid-October 2011 the Government has opted into (or not opted out in respect of Schengen matters) around 17 EU proposals/measures, and has not opted into 12.

The EU scrutiny committees in both Houses of Parliament asked for enhanced scrutiny procedures to ensure their involvement before any Government decision to opt into an AFSJ proposal or adopted measure. The Government endorsed the continued application of the commitments made by the previous Government, adding further commitments, including:

– A written statement to Parliament reporting all opt-in decisions on new EU measures in the area of JHA; where appropriate making this statement orally;

– In the case of particularly strong Parliamentary interest in an opt-in decision, a debate and vote in both Houses, in Government time, on the Government’s recommended approach on the opt-in

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