David Cameron’s pledge to lead the investigation into how a convicted murderer entered the country has been revealed as nothing more than a discussion point at an EU committee.
Speaking in Afghanistan after the body of teenager Alice Gross was found dumped in the River Brent the Prime Minister told reporters: “I’ll look at all the circumstances of the case, what lessons there are to learn, whether that’s about sharing information or whether it’s about the importance of keeping our country safe.”
He pledged to personally get involved into how the chief suspect, convicted murderer Arniz Salkalns, was allowed to enter and live in the UK.
But only days after his statement was made Breitbart London can reveal that the ‘investigation’ so far only amounts to the Home Secretary potentially discussing the topic at this week’s EU Justice and Home Affairs council in Luxembourg.
As this article was published we were told by the European Commission that no agenda items had been tabled by the UK – although topics can be discussed on the day.
EU laws bar border guards and the Home Office from refusing someone entry to this country for any other reason than suspected terrorism concerns, if they come from a fellow ‘member state’.
That means that half a billion people have the right to live, work and settle in this country regardless of previous criminal convictions unless there are reasonable beliefs that they are a threat to national security.
The legislation governing this, Directive 2004/58/EC from the 29 April 2004, clearly states:
‘Union citizens should have the right of residence in the host Member State for a period not exceeding three months without being subject to any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport, without prejudice to a more favourable treatment applicable to job-seekers as recognised by the case-law of the Court of Justice.’
And with specific reference to the entry of those with criminal records it states:
‘Measures [refusal of entry or deportation] taken on grounds of public policy or public security shall comply with the principle of proportionality and shall be based exclusively on the personal conduct of the individual concerned. Previous criminal convictions shall not in themselves constitute grounds for taking such measures.’
That means that for Arniz Zalkalns to have been refused entry into the UK, those checking his documents on arrival would have to firstly know that he was a convicted murderer – which he had no reason to inform them of – and secondly there would have to be reasonable evidence to suggest that he was entering the UK with the idea of killing again – and even then that assumption could not be based on his previous conviction.
Currently the UK only partakes in a third of justice and home affairs measures including the European Arrest Warrant, the European Criminal Records Information System (which is not available to border agencies) and the Schengen Information System which may include information relevant to a citizen’s right to enter another EU country.
If, as the Prime Minister is suggesting, he wants more information then full access to the information stored on SIS could result in the UK having to sign up to the whole Schengen Agreement, meaning the removal of internal border checks.
But even with full disclosure the rules still do not allow for convicted criminals to be barred from entering this country or to be deported for having a previous criminal conviction – unless there is a strong link to terrorism or national security.
This means that the Government would have to change the rules surrounding the free movement of people within the EU, something which his critics and senior EU figures themselves say is not possible.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show in February of this year the outgoing Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told viewers that not only had the government failed to put forward any proposed changes to the Treaties but he firmly ruled out any possible success in Mr Cameron’s pledges on immigration.
“It’s not possible to renegotiate freedom of movement. It’s a fundamental principle of the internal market” he said.
All of which leaves the prospect of significant changes into the immigration laws which allowed Arniz Zalkalns to enter this country and potentially kill again highly unlikely.
UKIP MEP Ray Finch slammed the pledge as “cruel and misleading.”
“David Cameron knows nothing can be done under EU freedom of movement rules. He is just bluffing as he always does and nothing will ever change whilst he is in charge.”