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Freedom, Security and Justice

The Scottish Government believes the justice system should contribute positively to help create an inclusive and respectful society in which all people and communities live in safety and security, individual and collective rights are supported, and disputes are resolved fairly and swiftly.   We believe the Scottish Government’s vision is closely aligned with the vision that the President of the European Commission has set out for an area of Justice and Fundamental Rights based on mutual trust.

We support the Commission’s efforts to strengthen police cooperation to tackle serious crime and the focus on tackling the scourge of human trafficking and exploitation.  We recognise that these types of crime do not respect national borders and thus consolidated EU action is essential.  We also welcome criminal law initiatives which help keep all European citizens safe while ensuing the fundamental rights of all individuals are protected; and civil law initiatives which help Scottish citizens work and live in other EU countries by, for example, facilitating the recognition and enforcement of judgements in cross-border cases, and setting out rules on applicable law with regard to both contractual and non-contractual obligations.  We see such initiatives as making an important contribution to the Agenda for Jobs, Growth and Fairness.  However, we also agree with the emphasis on implementation and consolidation, which is set out in the new set of Strategic Guidelines for the area of Freedom, Security and Justice.

The Scottish Government greatly values the contribution that migrants bring to our economy and society. Scotland’s economy has benefitted enormously from migrant workers and we must be able to attract talented individuals to support the growth of our economy.  However, the Scottish Government is also very concerned about the current humanitarian issues occurring in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.  We consider that the whole of the EU has a moral duty to discuss these issues responsibly and to act to prevent further loss of lives.  We want Scotland to be recognised as a good global citizen – able to welcome those seeking sanctuary, to support those in need and to deal effectively and humanely with those who do not have a case to stay.  Thus we are following with interest the Commission’s desire to create a new policy on migration.

The Scottish Government is committed to creating a modern, inclusive Scotland which protects, respects and realises internationally recognised human rights. We strongly believe in and subscribe to the principles laid out in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Scottish Government is committed to being a full and active participant in human rights institutional mechanisms within the EU and the Council of Europe. These include the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. We support the work being done to allow the EU to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights.