HC Deb 10 December 1998 vol 322 cc267-8W
Mr. Clappison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the steps taken within the European Union to promote a common criminal justice system; and if he will make a statement. [62639]

Kate Hoey

Neither the Commission nor any of the member states has tabled formal legislative proposals for a common criminal justice system in the European Union. The proposals which have been made are contained in a research study entitled "Corpus Juris", published in 1997 under the aegis of the European Commission, which recommends common penal rules and procedures to protect the financial interests of the European Community, and also the creation of an office of European Public Prosecutor. A further study is now being carried out for the Commission on the feasibility of these proposals.

Although the Government fully share the objective of fighting fraud against the Community budget, we disagree with many of the recommendations of the "Corpus Juris" study. None of the recommendations have been submitted to the Council of the European Union, but if this were to happen, unanimous agreement would be needed for them to be adopted and come into effect. The Government see no prospect that it could support proposals for a common criminal justice system.