EU bid to ban life sentences for murderers (Daily Express, 14 October 2004, page 10)
Judges would be barred from jailing murderers for life, under plans compiled by meddling European bureaucrats…The agenda includes the abolition of life sentences in the European Union, which would prevent our courts from handing down a minimum tariff of 15 years. The Eurocrats also want greater harmonisation of civil and criminal law- leading to the eventual unification of all member states’ legal systems.
There are no EU plans to bar judges from imposing life sentences on murderers, just a discussion paper intended to stimulate debate. In any case, the European Commission does not have the power to introduce such a ban – only the unanimous agreement of all EU member state governments, including that of the UK, could introduce such a law. Furthermore, no-one is proposing the “eventual unification of all member states’ legal systems”. However, it makes sense for EU countries to work together to tackle serious and organised crime of a cross-border nature, such as terrorism or human trafficking. Increased judicial co-operation and the recognition of court decisions across borders can play an important part in these efforts.