One of the defining aspects of a nation is that it is free to set laws and restrictions with reference to its own peculiar historical cultural and legal traditions, without let or hindrance. Gawain Towler, however, in the third of the Bruges Group's Micro guides shows how recent developments in Brussels have thrown this into disarray. A technical decision made by the European Court of Justice has turned the constitutional development of all EU member states on their head. The Commission has taken upon itself the right to overrule the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and national parliaments in the field of criminal law by reference to judgements of the highly partisan and activist European Court of Justice (ECJ). In this way the executive and the judiciary have coalesced to destroy the balance of power within the European Communities.
Environmental law has now become an area of criminal law under EU control. Areas that are left in legal limbo, but will become EU competences are:
- Counterfeiting the euro
- Non cash fraud (credit cards etc)
- Money laundering through banks
- People trafficking
- Private sector corruption
- Computer hacking
- Marine pollution
Areas of law currently being considered are:
- Fraud involving EU funding
- Intellectual property rights
- Racism and Xenophobia
By applying this precedent defining criminal offences and penalties no longer falls within the remit of national legislators but comes under the jurisdiction of Community law, which will have a direct effect, and prevail over, national laws, including, according to another decision of the Court, our constitution. Meanwhile in parallel with this judicial communitarisation of criminal law, the Commission has already launched, without the slightest mandate or legal basis, a project for a ‘European Civil Code’. This is preparing the destruction of national civil legislation in fields as diverse as contract law, liability law, family law and security law.
Today we have a new European Union, the final destination of which is known to no one. The ECJ’s judgement has rewritten Treaty obligations and undermined the will of democratically elected governments, steamrollered by the unelected executive which now has an open ended jurisdiction. The Commission, using the ECJ as its battering ram, has demolished the division of power in the European Union, the bureaucrats are firmly in charge.