Kirkhope: Conservatives will oppose European Public Prosecutor, unlike Labour and the Lib Dems

17-Jul-2013 @ 13:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

European Commission plans for a European Public Prosecutor are the thin end of the wedge that ends with the Europeanisation of national judiciaries, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Conservative Justice and Home Affairs spokesman, said today.

Mr Kirkhope pledged that Conservative MEPs will seek to halt the plans, unlike Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs who have already voted for discussion to begin so that the Prosecutor can be established.

The commission has presented a proposal today that would create the Office, sanctioned under the Lisbon Treaty. It would initially be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice those who are alleged of committing crimes against the EU's 'financial interests'. However, Mr Kirkhope believes 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.

The UK is set to oppose the plans, but if nine EU countries choose to go ahead, the Office could be created under the so-called 'enhanced cooperation' procedure which allows just some EU countries to move ahead with an initiative (for example, Italy and Spain do not take part in the EU's Community Patent).

Mr Kirkhope said that the plans were the wrong response to concerns that some EU countries' judiciaries are not adequately tackling abuses made against the EU's financial interests. Instead, the European Commission should come down hard on those countries failing to live up to their obligations to protect EU taxpayers.

He said:

"Just because some EU countries' prosecutors are doing a bad job at stamping out misuse of EU funds, it's not a good reason for the EU to begin taking over all 28 judicial systems. Instead, those countries should be forced to clean up their act and establish a prosecution system that can protect the financial interests of European taxpayers.

"The European Public Prosecutor is the thin end of the wedge. In the beginning the Prosecutor will have limited powers, but over time its ability to act will almost certainly be extended. Before we know it the EU would have control over prosecuting a number of crimes in the UK, against the wishes of our own judiciary.

"The British government will have our support in seeking to halt the Europeanisation of our justice system. This is a step too far down the road towards a federal super state with USA style Federal Prosecutors.

"We are still paying the price for Labour signing up to the Lisbon Treaty, which enabled the European Prosecutor to be created. Unfortunately Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs have failed on several occasions to voice opposition to allowing European prosecutors take control of our justice system."
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