European Parliament supports SP proposal for limits on European criminal law

27 May 2012

European Parliament supports SP proposal for limits on European criminal law

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong is delighted with the support for his report ‘Limits to European criminal law’ adopted today by the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority. De Jong: ´There will now be clear, verifiable criteria established which will have to be met before new European rules on the criminal law are proposed. There is no room for symbolic politics or Brussels bureaucracy: only if it is clear from statistical material that a European approach would offer clear value added will the European Parliament consider new rules. That is a new and clear gain.’

Dennis de JongSince the Lisbon Treaty came into force the EU has acquired more powers in relation to the criminal law. ‘The Commission in its announcement last year on the criminal law made a very broad proposal,’ says De Jong. ‘The Commission’s judicial review is so broadly formulated that in fact all branches of the criminal law fall within it. In addition there are, in relation to the Commission but also to the Parliament, too few guarantees of a well-coordinated approach which would ensure which would in turn provide coherency in relation to the criminal law. The EP has now made itself clear: the quality of the criminal law must be continually monitored by the Commission, the Council and the Parliament itself. With an eye to this, the Legal Services within the Parliament will be strengthened.’

The report was carried by 537 votes to 38. Within the European Parliament only the right-wing Dutch party the PVV and the British nationalists of UKIP were critical. As a result of this broad majority it will be difficult for the Commission and Council to refuse to cooperate with the EP on binding agreements on the issue. Any inter-institutional agreement must ensure that the judicial review which the EP will itself conduct is also employed by the other institutions. The Commission must also be prevented from coming forward with unnecessary or unsubstantiated proposals. ‘The Council of Ministers seems to be adopting a positive stance in relation to such an accord, whereas things are more difficult for the Commission, but it would simply save a great deal of work if the quality of the Commission’s proposals were to improve as a consequence of clear and binding agreements.’

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