European Movement UK

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One of the founding ideas of the European Union is subsidiarity: that the EU institutions should only deal with issues that cannot be dealt more effectively by the member states. That means things like ensuring free trade between countries and fighting cross-border pollution.

We are sorry to report an instance where an EU representative has gone a bit too far, getting involved with something that really belongs at the national level. The issue is how prisons are managed: subject to obvious human rights provisions, criminal justice is a national competence, not a European one. But here is UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, writing in the York Press :

“I am increasingly concerned about our prisons. Stabbings in Durham, smuggling in Wakefield, and both are both category A jails. Any prison officer who wants to write to me can be assured of confidentiality if I take matters up with the minister responsible.”

The task of explaining what the EU is and does is not made easier when people deliberately set out to confuse things. MEPs are there to deal with European matters, and should leave strictly domestic issues to the members of the House of Commons. Just think what Godfrey Bloom’s reaction would be if any other MEP had tried to take an interest in this issue …

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  1. Bloom is not proposing to increase EU competences here. He said that he would take it up with ‘the minister responsible’. Thus far, at least, there is no European commissioner responsible, though there are no doubt plans afoot.

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