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Ireland and Slovakia sent their Justice ministers to the Council of Ministers. Each Minister cast a veto on a vote to introduce Directive 2006/24/EC.

Neither Minister noticed, as Advocate-General Bot now says, that he was attending a Community institution, as opposed to a Union institution.

Each had, of course, read the draft Directive (presumably) and there they saw it was replete with material proper to the Union (and not the Community). It was, in short all about “police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters”. It was expressly proposed by Charles Clarke in the light of the London bombings.
Terrorism, no less.
No common market in terrorism, then.
Right, definitely a matter for Title VI of the EU Treaty.
No, said the Commission Staff. It’s all about a level playing field in the world of commerce.

Ireland and Slovakia have a vote, but not a veto. Done and dusted, then.

What-ho, Advocate-General Bot says the same.

In fact, Directive 2006/24/EC is all about facilitating surveillance by Member governments through the telecoms system. It places a burden on the telecoms and that burden has a cost. But any police activity has a cost, and nobody has yet tried to argue that the cost of a social issue renders it an economic issue.

Bot and the Commission define things by their form, not their substance.

A small state in the EU has no veto if the Commission wishes to deny it a veto.

An institution that loses integrity is a lost cause. When the current Commission is gone from office matters like this will surface and destroy its successor.

One Comment

  1. Hmmm… well that one reads like a judicial (and judicious) game of ‘find-the-lady’.

    As you rightly point out, all the fanfare for this directive was couched in language of anti-terrorism with the effect being of enabling better co-operation between police forces, so one would have thought that the maxim put forward by the late Douglas Adams in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency might have applied:

    “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands”

    But then, I only scraped a pass in EU law a long time ago so perhaps I’m missing something?