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UK May Lose Euro Crime Veto 2006-11-17

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Europe, Intolerance.
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UK sovereignty could be threatened if ‘The European Commission‘ abolished Britain’s ‘power of veto’ on crime policies — MPs say.

The European Scrutiny Committee‘ called for an urgent debate on EC plans, which include member states giving up their veto on police and judicial matters.

The committee said such a move could affect the legal principle of a person being innocent until proven guilty.

Currently, EU-wide judicial moves must be agreed unanimously by all 25 states.

The commission said this made things too slow and it wants national vetoes replaced with qualified majority voting — a system weighted according to countries’ size under which no individual state holds a veto.

The scrutiny committee said such a move would give ‘The European Court of Justice‘ new powers of jurisdiction and give the European Parliament a role in issues such as the definition of what constitutes a crime.

The UK could block the move, but even if it the UK did retain its veto, the committee said it could lead to the UK being excluded from future EU negotiations on crime.

European Scrutiny Committee Chairman Mr.Michael Connarty said MPs should debate the move which, he said, would offer little benefit to the UK.

‘If [it goes ahead] then we would see the present certainty about our ability to protect Britain’s interests in important justice matters replaced with uncertainty.

‘And it appears to us that the proposal does not offer the UK significant gains.’

Home Office minister Ms.Joan Ryan told the European Scrutiny committee in 2006-10 that the government had ‘serious concerns’ about the proposal.

She also said there was ‘significant opposition’ from some other EU members.

But she said it was too early to say whether the UK would veto the change.

The issue is to be discussed at the summit of EU leaders in 2006-12.

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