Wednesday, September 13, 2006


There has been much alarm in some sections of the eurosceptic community over an alleged EU proposal to transfer issues of criminal law and police co-operation from the third pillar of the EU treaties into the first pillar. This has been fuelled by an Open Europe "research" paper which claims:

At the European Council on 15 June, EU leaders instructed the EU Commission to draw up proposals to transfer This would abolish the national veto and would greatly increase the powers of both the EU Commission and European Court of Justice (ECJ) over a sensitive area of national policy. It would give the Commission sole right to propose laws in this area. So the Commission would actually gain even more powers over criminal law than it would have had under the EU Constitution (where the right of initiative was shared).
Oddly, for a paper which is described as research, there is no citation for the European Council conclusions and there is no direct quotation from them. Reference to the document, however, elicits the following declaration:

In the context of the review of the Hague Programme, the European Council calls upon the incoming Finnish Presidency to explore, in close collaboration with the Commission, the possibilities of improving decision-making and action in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice on the basis of existing treaties.
What stands out here is the Council has not "instructed" the commission to do anything, but "calls upon" the Finnish presidency, "in close collaboration with the Commission". Further, one notes the phrase: "on the basis of existing treaties".

And Open Europe calls its work "research"?


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