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EU Treaty (Climate Change)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

10. What assessment he has made of the likely impact on the ability of the UK and its European partners to combat climate change of proposed changes to qualified majority voting in the new EU treaty. (156133)

In response to the question tabled by my hon. Friend, I make it clear that the EU can be effective in tackling climate change. That process began with the targets agreed at the spring European Council this year. The move to QMV under the reform treaty will help by removing the veto of any one country on the liberalisation of energy markets and steps to improve energy diversity.

I am sorry; I was put off earlier by the unusual applause, to which I am not accustomed.

Is it not clear that, if we in the EU are going to make our contribution to meeting the challenge of global warming and to achieve our high, demanding and necessary targets for reductions in carbon emissions, we need to get the necessary implementing legislation through in a timely fashion and unambiguously and that, for that purpose, we need to have QMV in a Union of 27 members? Therefore, is there not evidently more than the usual degree of confusion in the minds of those on the Opposition Benches who claim—[Interruption.]

My hon. Friend is giving yet another reminder of why he left the Opposition Benches and joined us. Opposition Members scowl and dismiss. Euroscepticism is now a mainstream ideology for the Conservative party. The reform treaty provides, for the first time, an opportunity to unblock decision making. It will give the United Kingdom and the European Union the capacity to deliver change and effective improvements on one of the biggest issues facing the EU. That is one of the important parts of the reform treaty. It is one of the reasons why Labour Members support it so wholeheartedly.