Britain seeks to block EC plans over corpses

THE GOVERNMENT wants to block a proposed European Community law on moving corpses between the 12 member states.

According to a leaked Foreign Office document, the 'draft council directive on intra-community transfer of mortal remains' is one of dozens of proposals from the commission that should be resisted, or at least amended, because they defy the principle of subsidiarity.

'In particular, there seems no case for harmonised standards in relation to coffins,' the commentary document, obtained by Ken Collins, the Labour Euro-MP for Strathclyde East, says.

The movement of corpses directive sets out measures and health checks for bodies on the way to their last resting place. It has not yet been formally adopted by the European Commission or proposed to ministers of the 12. The United Kingdom says it should never be. Any government involvement can best be handled by discussions and agreements between individual member states. A new directive would bring 'no economies of scale or added value'.

The document shows that the United Kingdom is also resisting harmonisation of zoo standards, speed limits and maximum legal blood alcohol levels for drivers.

Ministers are resisting several proposed directives with far more important consequences covering working hours, part-time work and the employment of young people. 'No trans-national justification; employment protection and social security are matters properly for decision at national level,' the document says.

According to Mr Collins it was a draft for part of a British submission to the EC explaining its views on subsidiarity before the Edinburgh summit.

Apart from employment, the other key policy area involved in the United Kingdom's campaign for subsidiarity is the environment. The United Kingdom wants to amend - rather than scotch - four proposed 'green' directives. Getting them dropped altogether would probably be too difficult as they have already been tabled at council of ministers' meetings.

Three concern packaging, harmonising standards for the landfilling of municipal rubbish and industrial waste and the 'ecological quality of water' in so far as it affects wildlife.

But the fourth directive has potentially the largest impact of all; it would require member states to formally and explicitly take environmental impacts into account in drawing up all policies, plans and programmes.

'How to take account of environmental (or any) considerations in policy making must be up to national governments,' the commentary document says. '(The) directive would require changes in fundamental constitutional arrangements such as the relationship between government and Parliament and the principle of collective responsibility.'

Edinburgh summit, pages 10 and 11

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sewing Technician

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in Medical Devices is...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior IT Support / Projects Engineer

£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Bench Joiner & Wood Machinist

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This busy local Joinery company...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence