WHEN the EU’s leaders agree to ignore the rulings of their own courts that they are acting illegally, who can compel them to obey the law?
That is the extraordinary question which arises from last Thursday’s confirmation by the EU’s Court of First Instance that the EU is acting unlawfully by refusing to lift its ban on the People’s Mujahideen of Iran, the PMOI, the main would-be democratic opposition movement to the ruthless dictatorship of the mullahs in Tehran.
This bizarre saga began in 2001 when the British Government, as part of a deal with Tehran, agreed to ban the PMOI as terrorists, then talked the EU into following suit.
In 2006, the EU court ruled that its ban was unlawful. In 2007, at British instigation, the EU Council of Ministers twice agreed to defy this ruling.
When 35 MPs and peers, including former ministers, asked the High Court to rule on Britain’s action, three judges found that the Government had produced no evidence that the PMOI were terrorists and ordered it to lift the ban.
When this was confirmed by the Lord Chief Justice, who described the ban as “perverse” and “unlawful”, the Government reluctantly obeyed his order, thus bringing itself into conflict with an EU law that the EU court had already ruled as unlawful.
Last July, as acting EU president, France’s President Sarkozy insisted that the EU ban must remain.
Last week, after further protests from EU MPs, MEPs and senior lawyers, the Court of First Instance again ruled the EU’s ban as unlawful.
What makes this serial defiance of the law incomprehensible is that it has been done to appease a regime whose agents are acting as terrorists throughout the Middle East, all in a futile attempt by the EU to persuade Tehran not to build nuclear weapons, a policy it has no intention of abandoning.
What is equally weird is how little attention this outrageous story has attracted from Britain’s media.