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EU Reform: Treaties

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legal advice the Government has requested regarding the inter-governmental conference mandate. (154591)

The Government received legal advice on all aspects of the mandate for an EU Reform Treaty. As I made clear in my evidence session with the House of Lords Select Committee on 12 July, the Government do not disclose their legal advice, as has been the case with previous Governments for all previous inter-governmental conference processes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent the Government’s decision on whether a referendum should be held on the Constitutional Treaty, or whether that Treaty should be rejected, is dependent upon the Government’s judgment that the Treaty incorporates the red lines requested by the Government. (158018)

The draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe is now defunct. The Inter-Governmental Conference Mandate records the agreement of all 27 member states that

“the constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called ‘Constitution’, is abandoned”.

The new Reform Treaty is significantly different to the old Constitution. And we have secured extra safeguards on each of the UK’s red lines set out by the Government ahead of the June European Council.

Following my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary’s oral evidence session with the Foreign Affairs Committee on 10 October, he agreed to write to the Committee and place in the Library of the House a document setting out how the Government’s red lines are reflected in the latest draft of the Reform Treaty.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his response of 9 October 2007, Official Report, column 151, on the Constitutional Treaty, to the Supplementary Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone) if he will clarify which legal draft he referred to; what the status is of the Opinion of the European Commission (COM(207) 412 final) in that regard; which parts of the draft to which he referred differ from the draft document on which the European Scrutiny Committee has already reported; what the evidential basis is for his statement that the new draft makes clear the direction in which Europe is moving and respects the red lines which the Government has requested; and to what extent that evidential basis is derived from the changes incorporated into the new document. (158022)

The legal draft that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary referred to on 9 October during Foreign and Commonwealth Office oral questions was the draft Reform Treaty in English, including Protocols, Declarations and Preamble (references CIG 1/1/07 REV, 1 CIG 2/1/07 REV 1, CIG 3/1/07 REV 1, CIG 4/1/07 REV 1). These were sent to the Clerks of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Scrutiny Committee, Lords EU Select Committee and placed in the Libraries of both Houses on Friday 5 October.

The European Scrutiny Committee has reported on the Inter-Governmental Conference. The Government will provide a full response to all points raised in the Committee’s report.

Following my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary’s oral evidence session with the Foreign Affairs Committee on 10 October, he agreed to write to the Committee and place in the Library of the House a document setting out how the Government’s red lines are reflected in the latest draft of the Reform Treaty.