Wednesday, February 16, 2005

25 = 1 = No accountability

Diplomatic immunity extended to Eurocrats. If they are “one union” or “one nation, and civil servants, why are they given super-national privileges, ask the Telegraph?

What the Government describes as "a small, technical and non-controversial" Bill now being nodded through Parliament will give the equivalent of diplomatic immunity to the employees of a range of "international organisations", mostly organs of the EU. The "privileges and immunities" it grants will be enjoyed not just by staff members of these bodies, but by all members of their families and "households".
Although questioning of this curious Bill has been led by a tireless Eurosceptic, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, it has raised the eyebrows of even such a committed Europhile as Lord Wallace of Saltaire. He was surprised to discover that, since his wife is a director of the Robert Schuman Centre, part of the European University Institute, he will share her "immunity from domestic taxation" and other privileges, as her "dependent spouse".
The danger of this Bill, according to Lord Wallace, is that it will create "two classes of people – those of us who are subject to domestic law and pay our taxes and parking fines, and an increasing number of people who do not".
In response to a question from Lord Pearson, the Government itself only named 28, ranging from the European Railways Agency and the European Plant Variety Office to the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia, although the Foreign Office concedes that its list will have to be updated "as new bodies are added".
What the Foreign Office would never explain, however, is how these fast-proliferating organs in many ways now represent the true government of our country. Just why therefore the privilegents that works for them should be granted the immunities traditionally accorded to diplomats of a foreign power…

- obrigado,
John Ray.

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