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Treaty of Lisbon

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what obligations in international law on the UK will be created by (a) Article 11(3) and (b) Title V of the Treaty of Lisbon; and how they will be enforced. (191943)

I have been asked to reply.

The duty of loyal co-operation as described in Article 11(3) (Article 24(3)) in the consolidated version of the treaties (as amended by Lisbon) is not new. It was introduced by the Maastricht treaty and it has not prevented the UK from pursuing its own foreign policy when required to. The language is identical to that currently used in Article 11(2) of the EU treaty with the addition of the phrase that member states “shall comply with the Union's action in this area”. The latter is a statement of the obvious point that when—and only when—member states decide on Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) action they must abide by what they agree—a point which is already reflected in current EU treaty provisions on the CFSP.

Title V of the treaty of Lisbon sets out the general provisions on the Union's external action and specific provisions on the CFSP. The CFSP will remain intergovernmental: when EU members all agree, we act together, but where we do not, the UK acts independently.

The European Court of Justice will not have jurisdiction over the CFSP, except for those limited areas set out in the answer I gave to the hon. Member today (UIN 191936). And the Commission will not be able to commence infraction proceedings against member states under Title V.