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Lisbon Treaty: Correction to Explanatory Memorandum

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

My honourable friend the Minister for Europe (Jim Murphy) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Explanatory Memorandum on the Lisbon treaty stated that the treaty extended qualified majority voting (QMV) in a total of 50 articles.

It should have stated that there were 51 articles, including the move to QMV on the statute, seat and operational rules of the European Defence Agency (EDA). My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence set out this move to QMV in a Written Answer to the honourable Member for Woodspring (Liam Fox) on 28 January, reprinted below. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence has also provided oral and written evidence on the EDA to the Defence Select Committee.

We have provided the Vote Office with a corrigendum.

(Official Report, 28 January 2008, col. 38W)

EU Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which areas of European Security and Defence Policy the Lisbon treaty will introduce qualified majority voting; and if he will make a statement. [182335]

Des Browne: The Council will continue to act by unanimity among member states on all aspects of European Security and Defence Policy except for certain procedural items in respect of permanent structured co-operation and the European Defence Agency.

The Council would act by qualified majority voting (QMV) when establishing permanent structured co-operation and when determining the list of participating member states, including when deciding on the participation of a member state that subsequently wishes to participate or suspending the participation of a member state which no longer fulfils the criteria or its commitments.

In the context of the European Defence Agency, although the treaty provides for the adoption of a decision on the Statute, seat and operational rules of the agency by QMV, these matters have already been decided upon under the joint action establishing the agency. We therefore do not anticipate any further need for decisions in this area.

The “passerelle” clause, which allows the European Council unanimously to decide to adopt a decision by QMV does not apply to decisions having military or defence implications.