A colleague of mine has just produced a fascinating insight into the workings and the growth of the Corpus Juris. It appears that the European Parliament, is working furiously to justify a decision of "The European Court of Justice" (ECJ) - which permits the EU to define crimes and set penalties - and to approve the construction of an EU judiciary and police, for enforcing them.
First, by setting up its own enquiry, the Parliament decided not to accept for discussion a parliamentary resolution, by the Independence and Democracy Group, to oppose the ECJ-decision. Now the results of that enquiry - hailing the ECJ-judgement as a glorious landmark on the road to EU-sovereignty - are appearing. The resolution being based upon there statements of the Austrian premiere Schussel who had called for a review of the status of the ECJ in his first interview as President in Office of the Council of Ministers.
The Gargani report, for the Legal Affairs Committee, has laid out the position of teh Parliament. Next come the "opinions" of four other committees, starting with the one from Jean-Marie Cavada, for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Internal Affairs, which includes a startling revelation.
"The realisation of the European Project," says Cavada, "entails the creation of a single, judicial area … founded … on the primacy of Community law … conforming to the jurisprudence of the ECJ … and suppressing all penal provisions incompatible with it …
"However," he continues, "even in the absence of unequivocal treaty-provisions for interaction, between the EU's Judicial Order and the criminal codes of the nation-states … the ECJ has affirmed that nothing prevents the EU-legislator taking measures relating to the latter …"
Cavada goes on to "re-affirm … the urgent need to proceed with … the process of absorbing judicial and police-cooperation into the competence of the EU …" - and then comes the startling news - "the Committee," he enthuses, "welcomes the initiative, taken by the Appeal Courts of the member-states, to form a network for tackling problems linked to the activities of the EU, notably, the existence [which is coming about] side-by-side, of European, and national, criminal penalties."
Of course, it is nonsense to claim that "the Appeal Courts of the member-states" could have taken such a decision. However, that such a decision has been taken - by the Lord Chancellor, for example - seems undeniable, much as it may surprise many among the judiciary themselves!
Cavada concludes by "considering that the European legislator should limit [he actually means "extend"] criminal penalties to the [general] protection of the rights and liberties of citizens" - as defined, and subject to cancellation, by the EU, that is.
William Newton Dunn MEP, speaking in the Committee was gladdened by Cavada's "Opinion" and looked forward eagerly to the advent of "federal criminal law and police". Well, people did vote to join the Common Market.