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European Constitution

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which EU member states and accession countries' governments are proposing to hold national referenda to ratify the European Constitution; and if he will make a statement. [113441]

A new EU treaty would need to be ratified according to the individual political and constitutional traditions of each of the Member States. None of our EU partners have yet made formal announcements on whether they would hold a referendum on a Constitutional Treaty. Of the 25 countries affected, we are aware that the constitutional traditions of some, such as Denmark and Ireland, make referenda in those countries likely, whereas the constitutional traditions of others, such as Germany, make referendums unlikely. In the UK, EU treaties are only ratified after rigorous scrutiny by Parliament, as has been the case with all previous treaties modifying the founding Treaties of the EU.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether draft article 14 of Title B of the Draft European Constitution is intended to be justiciable by the European Court of Justice. [113442]

The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice does not currently extend to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). We have made it clear in the Convention that this position should remain unchanged. Article 240b of the draft Constitutional Treaty provides that the Court of Justice shall not have competence over the chapter applying to the CFSP, which includes draft article 14. This chapter will be set out in Part II of the draft Treaty.