Euro-Prosecutor – the slippery slope to sidelining our own courts

12-Mar-2014 @ 15:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Plans for a European Public Prosecutor could create a slippery slope towards a continent-wide criminal justice system, Conservative MEPs have warned.

They will today vote against a scheme they fear could lead to an all-powerful EU criminal court system that overrides British judges and the jury system.

Conservative MEPs have pledged to halt the plans, unlike Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs who have already voted for discussions to establish a European Prosecutor.

When the EU Commission originally announced plans to create the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) – a role set out in the Lisbon Treaty - it said it would initially be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice those accused of committing crimes against the EU's 'financial interests'.

However the proposals before MEPs today in a report by MEP Salvatore Iacolino suggest that ancillary crimes would also be prosecuted by EPPO.

Conservative justice and home affairs spokesman Timothy Kirkhope predicts that such a body, once created, would gradually expand its responsibilities to become one that overrides the British judiciary in a number of other areas. The EU has already begun a programme of training judges in European law and EU languages in an attempt to create a 'European judicial culture' and a fully-fledged European judicial training network.

Eleven national governments have already registered their opposition to the plan.

Mr Kirkhope, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and a former Home Office Minister, said: "We acknowledge that EU funds must be protected and that countries' own prosecutors are not doing as well as they should, but they need to be forced to do better. It should not be an excuse for the EU to start a power grab over the domestic judicial systems of 28 member countries

"This is a slippery slope. The prosecutor may have limited powers at first, but over time powers will almost certainly be extended. Before long the EU would be prosecuting crimes in the UK, whether our own judges approve or not.

"We will support David Cameron's efforts to halt this Europeanisation of our justice system, which is a step too far down the road towards a federal super state with USA style Federal Prosecutors. In doing so we continue to sweep up the mess caused by Labour signing up to the Lisbon Treaty."

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