Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Guest blogging the EU - by Tom Paine


"
I used to be a Eurobore. Tony Blair cured me by setting out, from 10 Downing Street, to destroy everything I had once feared would be destroyed from the Berlaymont. It's not that I love the EU now. I just fear it less than Labour.

Yesterday, however, I had a twinge of the old complaint, when I received a mailing from openeurope.org.uk as follows:-

On 8 February the EU Commission put forward proposals to punish “environmental crimes” with harmonised EU-wide criminal penalties, over which the power of national veto would not apply...

The proposed directive is the first result of a controversial European Court of Justice ruling in September 2005, which said for the first time that the European Community is able to set criminal penalties and offences, if it is necessary to achieve one of the “fundamental objectives of the treaties.” ...

According to the BBC, at his press conference EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini also raised the prospect that the European Arrest Warrant could be used to detain polluters and send them for trial in other member states. (9 February)

The Commission hopes that public support for punishing “environmental crimes” will be enough to convince member states’ governments to give up their principled opposition to the Commission being able to decide the substance of their criminal law. One EU official told the Independent, "I am 100 per cent confident that we will get the support of EU citizens, despite the worries of member states that want to hold on to individual sovereignty.

I have a problem with the concept of European Criminal Law. There is no reference to it in the founding treaties. Eleven out of (then) fifteen member states argued against it in the ECJ case mentioned above. The ECJ has effectively changed the nature of the EU, with no democratic mandate and (in my view) with very flimsy legal justification.

The British Government, despite originally opposing the idea, now plans to go along with it - at least when the Commission criminalises things that Labour might criminalise itself, had it the time. New Labour has criminalised more than 3000 activities since it came to power - an average of more than 1 new crime a day. I guess the Government feels it needs help to achieve its apparent goal of putting us all on the wrong side of the criminal law."

6 comments:

james higham said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Tom. It highlights one of the central planks in the global platform [though you won't go so far] and that is the criminalization of the average person, the better to control him.

Bag said...

Interesting piece.

I too was a Eurobore but now I believe it is a bigger threat than Labour. Labour's power is leaking away from the many holes it has under the waterline. It's damage is already done and can be reversed albiet at great cost. The EU however is tightening it's grip by the day and soon it's damage will be difficult to reverse. It will be firmly intrenched by the time we turn our attention to it.

Winchester whisperer said...

I blame Cherie Blair: this crazy situation pays the Blairs' mortgages. British law should clearly be sacrosanct.

Ellee said...

A great post by Tom Paine, who is never a Euro bore. While most people have no understanding of the complexities of EU law, they have all heard of the European Court of Human Rights, it is this court they turn to, or threaten to, if they feel they have been served an injustice. Interesting how that court reigns supreme over legislation from other countries.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, a great post. I hadn't realised the ECJ was as powerful as that and the new crimes list statistic is mind-blowing.

james higham said...

It's certainly sobering.