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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 October, 2004, 02:45 GMT 03:45 UK
Britain 'will keep asylum veto'
Immigration officer searches car
The report claimed veto would end on 1 April
The Home Office has denied a report that claimed Britain was set to agree to give up its European Union veto on asylum policy.

EU interior ministers are to meet on Monday to consider proposals on boosting co-operation on immigration and asylum policy.

The Times reported ministers would agree to common criteria for determining refugee status.

But the Home Office said there was no plan to end the UK's asylum veto.

We have the right of veto on these matters and that will continue
Home Office
A spokesman said: "The position of the UK government has not changed and will not change on Monday.

"We have the right of veto on these matters and that will continue."

The Times report was based on a leaked document containing proposals for a five-year EU programme on immigration and justice policy, known as the Hague Programme.

Asylum shopping

It will replace a five-year plan agreed by European ministers in 1999.

Its aim is to prevent "asylum shopping", where asylum seekers move from country to country seeking the best circumstances for claims, the paper reported.

The programme seeks to hasten the creation of a Common European Asylum System, possibly enforced by a European border guard and including a European asylum office which would process all claims made in EU member countries, the Times said.

It also includes a plan for common deportation procedures and for spreading those granted refugee status more evenly across the EU.

The paper claimed the Hague Programme would require all EU countries to relinquish their national veto on asylum policy from 1 April next year.




SEE ALSO:
EU plan 'risks UK asylum powers'
14 Oct 04  |  Politics
SNP proposes asylum seeker plan
22 Oct 04  |  Scotland


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