Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has warned that the extraordinary powers contained in the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty overrides all national laws in Europe. The German court will shortly call for an ‘emergency brake’ provision to be included into the German constitution to prevent an EU dictatorship.
The development is all the more shocking because till now, Germany has been one of the most fanatically pro-EU countries in Europe. It also reveals precisely how far Gordon Brown and the Labour Party have dragged Britain into the EU mess without considering its implications and without granting the people of this country a referendum on the topic.
The Federal Constitutional Court, which is Germany’s highest court, is to question a European Court of Justice ruling that a new law on data storage does not need to be approved by all member states for it to come into effect. This ruling has important implications for all national European laws, the German court has now said.
According to an article in Der Spiegel, the EU Court has demonstrated that “there are no limits to the Eurocrats’ claim to power.”
The EU data storage law made by the EU Court requires that telecommunications companies throughout Europe keep telephone and Internet usage data on file for six months to make it available for criminal prosecutions.
The EU court ruled that the issue of data storage is less pertinent to fighting terrorism than to the European single market. It therefore used a simple majority to make the ruling. Normally, a unanimous vote is required if the measure falls under the EU’s crime and judicial affairs pillar, but a ruling on the ’single market’ only requires a majority decision.
Using this simple ruse, the EU court has therefore sidestepped whatever restrictions it might have had. By classifying topics under different categories, it can simply enforce any law it wants — and the German Court has seen this trick for what it is.
Der Spiegel says “judges at Germany’s highest court have learned just how difficult it is to have the last word in Europe. It’s a cunning line of argumentation which effectively allows the court to intervene in many different political spheres within member countries” and added that the German “judges were visibly indignant when discussing precautions designed to impose limits on such trickery in the future.”
As a result, the German court will call for significant changes to German parliamentary law to counteract the Lisbon Treaty’s “sweeping authority that would give Brussels new jurisdiction at the expense of national parliaments,” Der Spiegel says.
“The power of disposal over primary law that the (Lisbon) treaty would grant the EU’s bodies could also be described as the EU’s ‘jurisdiction over jurisdictions,’” said German judge Udo Di Fabio, who has been charged with drawing up the ruling.
This would amount to a kind of “self-service” mechanism by which the EU could expand its own powers without recourse to new treaties and such a mechanism would be difficult to reconcile with the provisions of the German constitution, Judge Di Fabio has said.
According to Der Spiegel, the Lisbon Treaty openly encroaches on national authority. It gives the following example:
“Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU can define certain criminal cases, such as those involving terrorism, human trafficking or cyber crime, as ‘transnational.’ But, ‘depending on developments in criminality,’ the Council can expand the EU’s jurisdiction to any other aspects of criminal law as soon as there is a possibility that they will become transnational — in other words, virtually always.
“The potential conflicts are foreseeable. For instance, it would be difficult to persuade the Dutch that assisted suicide should be a crime. It would be just as hard to convince the Germans that hashish should be decriminalized. The judges on Germany’s Constitutional Court were troubled by such provisions,” wrote Der Spiegel.
As a result, the German judges are focussing their efforts in order to “come to grips with the dangers of the Lisbon Treaty at the national level,” the magazine continued.
They could require the German parliament, the Bundestag, to incorporate a kind of ‘emergency brake’ into their constitution. This would require the consent of the Bundestag to be linked to the consent of the federal government, and grant the German parliament the right of veto of the government if it relinquished certain powers to the EU.
The German court has also expressed its concern about the unification of European resources which is part of the Lisbon Treaty. “What happens if, as the Lisbon Treaty provides, one high-handed member decides to speak for all 27 EU countries?” Der Spiegel wrote. “Because ‘the music of globalization is playing’ at the World Trade Organisation, the judges argue, the issue of who has the say there cannot be irrelevant. They fear that even the German water supply could be sold off one day in what Di Fabio calls the WTO’s ‘bazaar atmosphere.’”
The issue goes beyond even that, the German court judge has said. “All areas of domestic and legal policy where competency is transferred to the European bodies under the Lisbon Treaty would be exempt from the unanimity requirement. Even worse, the European Council can also decide to apply the majority vote principle to decisions that would normally require a unanimous vote.
“If that happens, Germany could simply be overruled, such as on the question of joint military operations abroad. The only safeguard is that the decision on which mode of voting to apply — a majority or unanimous vote — must be unanimous.
“But, the judges asked astutely, does the confusing treaty also make it possible to simply do away with the unanimity requirement when it comes to expanding the EU’s competencies?” Der Spiegel pointed out.