An intergovernmental conference was convened yesterday, 16 May 2012, in the margins of Coreper, to sign the protocol put forward by the Irish Government during negotiations on the treaty of Lisbon. The protocol will need also to be ratified by all 27 member states before it can be attached to the treaty on the functioning of the European Union and the treaty on European Union.
In the UK, under the European Union Act 2011, the Minister must lay a statement before Parliament under section 5 of the Act as to whether, in the Minister’s opinion, the protocol falls within section 4 of the Act—cases which attract a referendum. The 2011 Act also requires primary legislation to approve the protocol before the UK can ratify it. The statement will be laid within the two-month period specified in the Act and primary legislation will be introduced in due course.