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In 2014 the UK Government must make a decision on whether to opt into the body of police and criminal justice measures in the former ‘third pillar’ of the EU Treaties that remain unamended since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in December 2009. There are estimated to be 133 such measures at the moment.

If the Government decides to opt into the measures en bloc, it will thereby accept the enforcement powers of the European Commission and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice with regard to them. If the Government decides not to opt into them, the measures will not apply to the UK. The EU Council will decide on transitional rules and there might be financial implications for the UK.

The UK may later notify the Council that it wishes to opt back into such measures on an ad hoc basis, but doing so will not be automatic and will need the authorisation of the Commission or Council. If the UK opts back into a measure, it must accept the roles of the Commission and Court.


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