European matters

Lord Hodgson

As we stagger towards the end of the Parliamentary sessions and look forward to sun, sand and sangria, the UK’s relationship with Europe has continued to occupy our minds as well as a good deal of Parliamentary time.

At the centre of the current discussion is the UK’s right to opt out of 130 European directives on justice and security. Negotiated by the Labour Government as part of the Lisbon Treaty the ability to opt out lasts for five years so a decision is required next year. More challenging is the “all in all out” nature of the opt out – no picking or choosing – you have to adopt the lot or adopt none.
The 130 measures can be divided into three categories – around 40 that are considered redundant or inapplicable, around 35 that cover issues relating to the more efficient prosecution of international crime (eg. mutual recognition of confiscation orders and the operation of the European Arrest Warrant) and about 60 that extend the role of the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’).

There can be no argument about the value of opting out from the first category – cleaning the barnacles from the ship of state is important. Applying to opt back into the second category, as the government proposes, seems suitable. In an age of globalisation national borders are increasingly porous as far as criminals are concerned. The last category has more controversial aspects – at a time when European judges have told the UK that “life cannot mean life” even for the most heinous of crimes the potential danger of our courts being restricted by judicial activism on the part of the ECJ seem a high to risk at this time. Better to wait and watch developments rather than taking what will surely be a one way ticket.

8 comments for “European matters

  1. Tim
    01/08/2013 at 6:17 pm

    Can I point out that the ECHR and the ECJ are different institutions?

  2. Bumble Bee
    02/08/2013 at 10:50 am

    In an age of globalisation national borders are increasingly porous as far as criminals are concerned
    And people in general.

    I was amused to read that Lord Dave Howell
    has come round to the Open Door policy espoused by my good friend M Mitterand (president of France) about 40 years ago!
    Well done!! Policing, above, must be a very different game, without borders; professional linguists are advised.

    European judges have told the UK that “life cannot mean life” even for the most heinous of crimes</i
    Life can mean life for the insane, and “insanity” is a far worse sentence than mere serious crime.
    It would be interesting to know the figures
    for those under permanent section of the mental health acts, for serious crime, or even how they are statistically classified.
    Are they all considered as prison inmates and counted in the 80,000?

  3. maude elwes
    02/08/2013 at 11:47 am

    The reason this government wants to opt out of Europe and out of our connections with it is because they don’t want to have to uphold the legislation relating to the ‘Human Rights Act.’

    And they play heavily on the one factor that is making the UK people resent the Treaty in particular is ‘immigration.’ They play that card of it’s Europe that keeps us caught up in a mass influx of people as their EU law forces us to have open borders. Which we know is clap. 75% of all immigration into the UK comes for outside Europe. Only 25% make up the rest.

    What they play down on the issue of immigration is, the Commonwealth countries have, in many cases, a different policy. Britain advertises in Commonwealth countries for immigrants to come here and fill our jobs. But they want to put the blame for that on Europe.

    And an added reason for wanting rid of the EU laws on ‘Human Rights’ is the working hours rule and various and other rights given to us by the EU connected with working practice that government cannot do away with whilst we remain European. Once they have us out of that union, they will covertly aline us further with US policy than we already have and we will be forced to live in the utter horror of that uncivilised madhouse called a superpower.

    Of course, they blame Europe for Gay marriage as well, which throws it into further resentment and the idea that if we pull out if it, all those policies connected to the EU will be dropped. This is the big lie.

    Why is Labour not telling it as it is, or, those paragons of Europe, the Liberal Democrats. Could it be because they too are stooges to Corporate rule and the big money game. Must be if you look at the thirty more taken into that gravy train this morning. The old buy off in full flight there you will see. What a farce that was.

    And of course, the ultimate big issue is, The House of Lords and Europe. Where Europe wants equality for all, not discrimination against the majority, the Lords, set up by Monarchy, is based entirely on the very opposite of equality. First and foremost it is the soul of ‘inequality’ and ‘division.’ Discrimination is what this entire talking shop is based on. Us and them. ‘And the ‘them’ can pay through the nose for us.’

  4. Graham
    02/08/2013 at 1:04 pm

    I know no more about this topic than Lord Hodgson tells us in the blog. But my concern is that he seems to be suggesting opting in to the authoritarian measures but remaining opted out from the liberal measures! If true, that does not seem like a reasonable balance, nor a position I would support.

    Can I ask Lord Hodgson to say more about the items he proposes opting in to? Making law enforcement more efficient has to be done with extreme care if it is to avoid moving further towards an authoritarian police state. Are these items fully consistent with British traditions of civil rights and policing by consent? (Genuine question — I do not know).

    More importantly, will they remain so? What happens if (for example) religious hardliners in one state gain enough influence to create an onerous blasphemy law in that country — would British citizens’ utterances and publications which are legal in the UK be protected properly? Or what if a UK citizen or newspaper blows the whistle on illegal actions by a foreign government official — could they be subject to fines or confisaction orders by a foreign court?

  5. Lord Blagger
    02/08/2013 at 1:35 pm

    It’s not a one way ticket.

    Just say you withdraw from the directive.

    What’s the EU then going to do?

    It’s only because you say that we have to accept being ruled by an unelected body.

    Just say no, and the EU cannot do a thing.

    Just as withdrawing from the EU. What are they going to do? Have a hissy fit? Probably.

    Put in trade barriers? Er, they have a trade surplus with the UK. If they do, we just insist on work permits where you pay your fair share of tax. 12K per migrant, offspring and wives included. I doubt many EU countries could cope with the influx.

    • maude elwes
      02/08/2013 at 6:25 pm

      Blagger, who fills you up with this nonsense? And more importantly, why do you believe it?

      Read all about it.

      I think you should read all the pro and cons before you write about ‘trade’ and Europe.

      We have not been keen EU partners in the way which would have given more benefits to the people of this country. Now why is that? Care to round on that?

  6. Lord Blagger
    05/08/2013 at 11:28 am

    So you link to two pro European sites to justify your case.

    Time to withdraw.

    We’ve a huge problem with low skilled migrants and illegal migrants. The EU won’t allow that to be controlled. EU countries want to export their unemployed and get the UK to carry that burden.

    If stopping people at tube stations nets 139 in a morning, that just shows the scale of the problem.

    Don’t forget. They can’t pay for spare bedrooms because they have to pay for the migrants defence, legal aid, health care, free schooling, free police, …

    • maude elwes
      07/08/2013 at 8:41 am

      @Lord Blagger:

      I have answered you a couple of times, but, it was considered off topic. Perhaps this ‘Make Me a German’ will be considered good for all to see.

      I would love to be made a German.

      Perhaps, instead of following the intolerable American disaster the way we are, the UK politicians could consider quality of life for a change.

      Do hope this doesn’t fall into the category of unacceptable and you will be allowed to know my real thoughts.

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