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EU's highest court says EU nation can ban prisoniers from voting in EU elections

  • In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 a man rides his bike by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Europe's highest court has ruled in favor of an Austrian law student who claims a trans-Atlantic data protection agreement doesn't adequately protect consumers. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 a man rides his bike by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Europe's highest court has ruled in favor of an Austrian law student who claims a trans-Atlantic data protection agreement doesn't adequately protect consumers. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron applauds after listening to a speech by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, during the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester, England, Monday Oct. 5, 2015. The ruling Conservative Party continue their annual conference on Monday, seemingly buoyant after their electoral triumph in May. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

    British Prime Minister David Cameron applauds after listening to a speech by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, during the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester, England, Monday Oct. 5, 2015. The ruling Conservative Party continue their annual conference on Monday, seemingly buoyant after their electoral triumph in May. (AP Photo/Jon Super)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 a man walks by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The European Union’s highest court has ruled that a member state can ban prisoners guilty of serious offenses from voting in EU elections in a decision which was hotly awaited in Britain. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 a man walks by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The European Union’s highest court has ruled that a member state can ban prisoners guilty of serious offenses from voting in EU elections in a decision which was hotly awaited in Britain. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union's highest court has ruled that a member state can ban prisoners guilty of serious offenses from voting in EU elections in a decision which was keenly awaited in Britain.

The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that France was within its rights to deny a prisoner who had been stripped of his civil rights to keep him from voting. It said the ban was "proportionate in so far as it takes into account the nature and gravity of the criminal offense."

Britain is currently debating its position within the European Union and has been extremely sensitive to any move than could undermine national decision-making on vital issues. Britain does not allow prisoners to vote.