Thursday, 27 July 2006

Brussels commission makes power grab for control of crime and justice

Last month the Brussels Commission proposed that EU Member States should scrap their national vetoes in the field of police and judicial cooperation and adopt EU laws in this area by qualified majority voting. This means that crimes and criminal penalties could be decided at EU rather than national level, so that Member States would no longer be able to decide or defend the fundamental rights of their citizens. If adopted, this proposal would mean a further huge extension of of EU power over our lives. It would give more power to the EU Commision, that body of unelected supranational officials which French President Charles de Gaulle once described as “a conclave of technocrats without a country responsible to nobody”. It would mean lifting a proposal from the EU Constitution which was rejected by French and Dutch voters last summer, and trying to push it through on the sly, supposedly on the basis of the existing EC/EU Treaties.

The Brussels Commission asserts that to have more EU control of justice and criminal law matters would make for “more effective” laws. What else would one expect the Commission to say, as a highly self-interested party in the matter, for the adoption of this proposal would greatly increase its own powers? The Commission’s claim is a totally unproven and disputable proposition, designed to pave the way for an EU federal police-force and Public Prosecutor, despite the radically different legal systems in the EU – trial by jury and habeas corpus in Ireland and Britain, but inquisitorial magistrates and the presumption of guilt rather than innocence in most continental EU States.

The Commission’s proposal will come before EU Justice Ministers in Helsinki in September. Citizens should urge their TDs to tell the Government that it must on no account accept it. Such extension of EU power should require a referendum in Ireland – unless the Government is ready to face a contemporary Raymond Crotty taking a case to the High Court and Supreme Court over this attempted EU takover of much of the crime and justice area. Are the TDs and Senators of “Fianna Fail – the Republican Party” going to sit on their hands while the Government readies itself to accept this further body-blow to Irish democracy and independence?

By Anthony Coughlan
Secretary of The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, 24 Crawford Avenue, Dublin 9; Tel: 00-353-1-8305792