VALETTA, Malta, October 23, 2002 ( – The European Union’s enlargement commissioner, Gunther Verheugen assured Malta’s Archbishop Joseph Mercieca last week that the European Union would never take jurisdiction over abortion. The Times of Malta reports that Verheugen stressed that the EU would never tell Malta or any other member state to legislate in favour of abortion. The EU, he pointed out, had no jurisdiction over abortion or similar issues and this position was “definite, absolute and forever”.  However, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) which has worked extensively with international bodies such as the EU and the United Nations warned that the promise may not be solid.  SPUC spokesman commented: “Sadly Mr Verheugen’s assurance would seem utterly worthless in the absence of a binding treaty.” Pro-lifers in Ireland, who opposed the recent acceptance of the Nice Treaty,  have warned that further European integration may mean that European law could be interpreted and enforced in such a way that statutory and constitutional protection of unborn life could be eroded or even set aside completely.  See the coverage from The Times of Malta:   (with files from SPUC UK)