Plans to create a powerful new European Union “Interior Ministry” under the new Lisbon Treaty will be agreed in secret by Brussels officials over the next four or five months without any public or parliamentary scrutiny.In a related piece, decrying the absolute scandal that is the dereliction of duty by British Members of Parliament with regard to the debate of the Turnip that is currently held in the UK Lower House in anticipation of ratification, Philip Johnston notes:
The new Reform Treaty resurrects proposals from the old EU Constitution, rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago, for a “Standing Committee on Internal Security”, already known as COSI in euro-jargon.
The final blueprint for COSI’s extensive powers will be agreed during the second half of this year – in other words the House of Commons will have ratified the Treaty before MPs know what they have signed us all up to.
And, the British public and their elected representatives will be kept in the dark because all discussions will be held in secret meetings of the Council of the EU, the Brussels body that represents national governments.
The Treaty text, Article 61D on page 77, to be rushed through the House of Commons over the next days, baldly states that: “A standing committee shall be set up within the Council in order to ensure that operational cooperation on internal security is promoted and strengthened within the Union.”
Secret internal EU documents, circulated almost three years ago, admitted that “the exact nature of the committee cannot be discerned by reading” the relevant clause of the Treaty - and no new work to clarify the issue has been carried out since.
Tony Bunyan, of the Statewatch civil liberties group, has warned that if the Government “gets its way we will see an EU Interior Ministry without any democratic control”.
“It is quite outrageous that the role of the new EU internal security committee is being decided in secret,” he said. “If COSI becomes a high-level legislative body, as well being in charge of operational matters, a whole swathe of decision-making and practice will be removed from democratic debate and discussion.”
Internal EU documents uncovered by our Brussels correspondent indicate how COSI might develop. One discussion paper states: "Internal security should at least include... the prevention and combating of crime, the prevention of the terrorist threat, intelligence exchange, public order management, the prevention and combating of criminal offences such as illegal immigration and trafficking in persons, the provision of an integrated management system for external borders and crisis management with cross-border effects within the EU."Alas, mr. Johnston, apparently nobody does. But:
The EU already has an embryonic police force (Europol), a courts arm (Eurojust), a paramilitary riot squad (European Gendarmerie Force), a European Arrest Warrant, and will now, under Lisbon, have a European public prosecutor and what could become an interior ministry (COSI) to pull it all together.
For many years, these matters were regarded as off limits for the EU. Yet with the barest of debate in our supposedly sovereign parliament, and with ministers clinging to the fraying life-line of their negotiated opt-outs, we are about to hand control of our criminal justice system to the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.
Some people have argued against a referendum because we are a parliamentary democracy and the proper place for debating these matters is the Commons. What are they thinking now, or does nobody care any more?
Soon enough, they will have to care and, although it is never too late, the longer we leave it, the harder it will be to restore our democracy and the greater will be the pain. In the meantime, scandal it is, but one which will not get the attention it deserves.In the mean time we here in the Netherlands, and elsewhere where the Turnip is yet to be ratified, should sit up and take notice. This is what our politicians signed us up for when they are trying to ram the Lisbon Treaty through our throats: An unaccountable Interior Ministry, given a carte blanche in matters concerning security and decided upon in secret by a cabal of Brussels apparatchicks. The joys the Turnip is bringing us!