Europe should trust its voters

Richard Laming

By Richard Laming

Published in EUobserver, 3 June 2003

I was asked recently about a proposal that the European constitution should include a provision harmonising criminal penalties for domestic violence. What could be more fundamental to our European values than the right of women not to be assaulted by their partners?

It was with quite a lot of reluctance that I decided I was against. For there is another European value that also needs to be defended, that of decentralisation. If a member statec an deal with something, it should be allowed to. I am a Brussels-sceptic.

In the Convention, one of the things that everyone agrees on is that there are too many decisions taken in Brussels on issues that should really be left to the member states. Subsidiarity has not been respected, they say, and it should be. Various ideas and proposals have been made to stop this happening in the future.

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