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Lisbon Treaty

Volume 712: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether under Article 46A of the Lisbon treaty the European Union will have the power to make international treaties binding on its member states; and, if so, whether that will affect the royal prerogative in respect of making treaties and remove the necessity for ratification of them by Parliament. [HL4319]

The Lisbon treaty would insert a new Article 46A into the Treaty on European Union (Article 47 in the consolidated version of the treaty) which provides that “the Union shall have legal personality”. Articles 216-219 of the consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 2(173) of the Lisbon Treaty) sets out the legal basis and procedures that would apply for negotiation and conclusion of international agreements between the Union and third countries or international organisations. There is no substantive change to the existing position. The European Community presently enters into international agreements within Community competence under the current Treaty establishing the European Community. The Treaty on European Union also provides for the conclusion of international agreements in Articles 24 and 38. Those agreements are given effect through legislation where that is needed to implement them and they create obligations at the EU level for the member states in those areas of competence.

In the same way such agreements concluded by the Union within its competences under the Treaty on European Union, and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union would be implemented through legislation where necessary and would create obligations for the member states at the Union level. Council decisions on the conclusion of agreements are currently subject to parliamentary scrutiny and that would continue to be the case under the treaties as amended by the Lisbon treaty.