Monday, February 12, 2007

“Like giving a child a loaded gun”

A sickly view of the power of law: make criminal whatever fashionable nonsense will seem nice.

But what is to stop zealous Brussels officials fulfilling the Napoleonic tendencies often ascribed to them by eurosceptics and laying down the law to member states?

The first limit was applied by the European court, which said the EU could only use criminal law to achieve its objectives when it could show that "effective, proportionate and dissuasive" penalties were essential to combating serious environmental offences.
Sophisticated, sophisticated, sophisticated, but the clothes don’t always make the man when they’re so simplistic about structuring law as to replace the prosecutorial powers of “lower” bodies as if the pecking order were more important than checks and balances or the propriety of who enforces what. What is left of democracy when people receive law from on-high and not permitting the “devolved” state of populations deciding law closer to home?

Look out shortly for a turf war compelling states to dispose of a millennium of common law or centuries of Civil Code.
In many cases where the EU makes law, member states may already apply criminal sanctions across the board. However, in cases - like environmental crime - where some countries only apply civil penalties, the Commission may be tempted to act to bring consistency.
Ooh, that sound so... how shall we say... “efficient.”

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