EU Criminal Law Worries UK

From the June 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

For years, the European Union has been defined by a daunting pile of legislation created by men and women who have not been elected to their posts and, thus, hold no accountability to European citizens.

As the EU slides down this slippery slope, we see the next logical step: introducing criminal law Union-wide. “Brussels announced the first EU-wide criminal sanction [sentence] yesterday, requiring every member country to imprison organized counterfeiters for four years and fine them up to ?Ǭ300,000” (Times Online, April 27).

Franco Frattini, one of those lawmakers unaccountable to anyone, said that counterfeiting “was so serious that it had to be made a European crime” (ibid.).

If approved, this will “mark the first time that a criminal law has been introduced in Britain that has not come from the Houses of Parliament and that Parliament will have no power to block” (ibid.).

Though it makes sense that in order for Europe to function as a true Union it needs laws that supersede national sovereignty and a government that can enforce those laws, the legislation will be cause for great debate among states not willing to give up their sovereignty—like Britain, which has never wholeheartedly set its hand to the plow when it comes to integrating with Europe.

London says it must retain the right to determine how to punish its citizens. “We have very serious concerns about the criminal penalties,” one official said. “We also have long-standing concerns about the need for legislation on this at a European level” (ibid.).

One British member of the European Parliament said, “I am very, very disturbed by it. Criminal law has to remain under the control of nation states. The penalties—deciding when people go to prison—have got to be dealt with by our own legislators.”

What’s London to do? If a “qualified majority” vote in favor of the legislation, Britain will have no choice but to implement the law. The only alternative might be that Britain decides enough is enough and that it must excuse itself from the EU.

Britain knows, as logic would also tell us, that this type of authority from the EU will not stop with sentencing counterfeiters. Last September, the European Court of Justice decided it was necessary for the EU to have the right to impose criminal laws on member states in order to uphold EU legislation on fighting pollution. “The European Commission has insisted that the principle applies across all policies, and identified seven areas in which it might try to introduce European crimes” (ibid., emphasis ours).

The Trumpet has stated for years, based on key Bible prophecies, that Britain ultimately will not be a part of a united Europe. Britain has been the most vocal of nations not wanting to give up sovereignty to a supranational Union. And, whether it is kicked out for not abiding to certain European rules or it excuses itself to maintain national sovereignty, we know Britain’s fate in the greater European scheme.