On Tuesday afternoon this week the European Parliament debated the possibility of and problems surrounding a flu pandemic. Eminently sensible you might think – indeed maybe the sort of thing that the institution should be doing. However the response to the debate set one MEP I know ears a tingling.
Markos Kyprianou, the Commissioner for health (and son of the late President of Cyprus and secretary to archbishop Makarios) seemed to suggest that after the ratification of the Constitution then he could order compulsory vaccination, without needing to obtain the permission of the national governments and populations so affected,
“It is true that we do not yet have the legal competence, but we will get it, to a certain extent, with the Constitution, because that will give the Commission, the Community and Parliament the authority to act when there is a cross-border threat to health. Therefore, we will be able to take some of the measures that Mr Maaten said I, not Mrs Fischer Boel, can take in the case of animal health. We can currently take emergency measures, but not for humans. The Constitution will at least allow us to do this.
It is right that even though we do not have the legal competence at the moment, we cannot underestimate the fact that these diseases know no borders”
Fischer Boel is the Danish Agriculture Commissioner, she has the power, as we learnt to our horror during the foot and mouth outbreak to order mass vaccination or slaughter of animals. It seems that the Constitution (through the shared competence(power) aspect in health care will be able to do the same with us.
It is almost worthy sneezing in Schumann if it would result in a 1 mile ring cull.