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The European Union and Project Creep

There was a good example of Project Creep at one of the European Scrutiny Committees this week.

There is a proposal for the EU to develop its own criminal law and prosecutory apparatus.

This, which we can opt out of anyway, is a good example of project creep.

Matters relating to the various European Bodies are matters of detail. There is, however, a general point. The general point is that of who decides at which level something should be handled. Everyone can agree that subsidiarity means that decisions should be taken at the lowest sensible level. The problem is that if that decision (the decision as to which level to decide something at) is taken at the EU wide level it will tend to want decisions at a higher level.

The prosecutory apparatus issue is a good example of this. There is no substantial reason for developing a formal body of criminal law or prosecutory apparatus at a Europe wide level. There happens to be a common law backstop of a private prosecution in any event.

I also sat on a scrutiny committee previously looking at the EU budget. What was interesting under the CAP is that almost no money was budgeted for tobacco subsidies, but lots of money was given in each year (out turn) in tobacco subsidies.

This is a typical political fudge.

On a completely separate European issue relating to the Council of Europe I did manage to promote the concept of certain resolutions of the Council of Europe guiding the court's interpretation. I think this is the better option. The European Court of Human Rights provides an important backstop against miscarriages in national courts. However, this should still be democratically accountable in some manner otherwise it becomes a Kritarchy.

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

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