Here is 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.
The Parliament rejected a resolution by the (eurosceptic) Independence and Democracy Group opposing the ECJ-decision. The resolution was based upon the statements of the Austrian Prime Minister Wolgang Schüssel who in his first interview as President in Office of the Council of Ministers had called for a review of the status of the ECJ. In the interview Mr Schüssel had said that the unchecked power of the ECJ is problematic.
That is not the way the European Parliament sees it. The EP set up an enquiry hailing the ECJ-judgement as a glorious landmark on the road to EU-sovereignty. The French Liberal MEP Jean-Marie Cavada, who is the chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Internal Affairs, writes in his ‘Opinion:’ “The realisation of the European Project 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.”