EU should leave criminal law to member states

14 June 2006

EU should leave criminal law to member states

The European Parliament yesterday held a debate on the subject of a pronouncement from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), a judgement which could lead to further EU interference in the member states' criminal law systems. SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard is highly critical of these developments and of the failure of the Parliament to say anything about them.

Kartika Liotard“Every little gap in the European rules is being filled by the ECJ. In this way judges rather than elected politicians are deterring what will eventually become EU policy. This is not what we should be aiming for in a democracy,” Kartika Liotard said. Yesterday the Parliament held a debate on a ruling from the Court of Justice which 'established' that the EU has the right to include in its legislation provisions relating to criminal law, provided these fall within the scope of the so-called 'first pillar'. This would include everything for which the European Community has direct competence, which is to say anything and everything except those matters normally considered to come under the headings of 'Justice and Home Affairs' or 'Foreign and Security Policy'.

“In this manner more and more instances of criminal law are creeping into European rules, despite the fact that it is in our opinion a national competence, a matter for national authorities," continued Ms Liotard. "There is, moreover, no legal basis for European criminal law. The EU is thus increasingly taking more opportunities to determine what is and is not punishable within the member states, as well as what punishments they must impose. This is unacceptable and illegal."

The resolution adopted by the Parliament after the debate went no further than to reconfirm its own competences in relation to legislation. "This sounds democratic," Liotard said, 'but the Netherlands must determine for itself what in the Netherlands should be punishable and what sort of punishments should be imposed. We don't need Brussels to do that for us."

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