Friday, September 16, 2005

European jails

Well well, what can I say? After a four day absence, I am back.

I have not already tired of this blog; far from it. My absence is partly explained by the fact that I was away in good old rural Gloucestershire. I was a guest of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Severn Valley branch, at 'celebrations' to mark the 75th anniversary of that body. And what a celebration! Sandwiches, wine, and laughs aplenty. OK one must not exaggerate. I somehow acquired a Ramonet B√Ętard-Montrachet 1992, but being a non-imbiber, it wasn't of any use to me.

Autumn is upon us. I suppose this is another reason for my four-day silence. I have been so laid back all week, I can hardly summon up the feeling with which to respond to recent events in the news. For instance, I received lying down the news of the latest lunacy from the trades unions. Even the news that the European Union may use criminal sanctions to enforce its laws failed to shake me out of my torpor.


I have just re-read that sentence, and I am now awake. Allow me one second to express my outrage.

Some background: the European Commission brought a test case before the European Court of Justice. At issue was a Council Framework Decision on the protection of the environment through criminal law. To cut a long story short, the question was basically whether they had to get unanimous agreement from all member states before using criminal sanctions to enforce the law. The court said no; qualified majority voting was sufficient. This means that that criminal sanctions could be imposed even if some states refuse to back this.

What does this mean in practical terms? It means that the EU can pass a law with criminal sanctions with direct impact on the UK, even without the approval of the government. All that is required is that the law be passed by a majority vote. There is therefore the possibility of criminal laws applying in the UK that were not approved by the government. We must be concerned about this threat of exposure to criminal sanctions in respect of laws that may be made even in the face of opposition from the government.

The most absurd thing is that this decision has been hailed by the Commission's president as a watershed decision that would lead to 'more democratic and more efficient lawmaking at EU level'. How?

We are 'assured' that in real terms, there is no prospect of the UK agreeing to such a loss of sovereignty. But who are we to believe? Ministers here always say that the 'national interest' will always be protected. Call me a cynic, but whenever I see a UK government minister draping himself in the Union flag, I know that a further surrender of sovereignty is on the cards.

*Exhales deeply*

Bel is back!
You are viewing a post on Bel's old site. Click here to find this post on the new site.



Blogger Blogger News said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home