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EU: Constitution

Volume 694: debated on Wednesday 18 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the significant provisions of the draft constitution for Europe that they do not now expect to be included in the proposed European Union reform treaty based on the mandate of the current inter-governmental conference. [HL4769]

The treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, on which the Government proposed a referendum, is now defunct. The mandate for a reform treaty agreed by the European Council states clearly:

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

As my right honourable friend the then Prime Minister (Tony Blair) set out in his Statement in another place on 25 June, the reform treaty will differ fundamentally from the constitutional treaty in both form and substance. Among other things, we have ensured that there is nothing in the mandate for the reform treaty which will require us to change our existing labour and social legislation. Our common law system and our police and judicial processes will be protected. Our independent foreign and defence policy will be maintained. Our tax and social security system will be protected.