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Lord Monson: Before the noble Earl sits down, he may be unaware that this Committee stage was agreed through the usual channels several weeks ago.

Lord Henley: I am not sure I can take the Committee much further on this point. As I said—and as the noble Lord, Lord Monson, has just repeated—it has been agreed through the usual channels that, most unusually for a money Bill, we would have this opportunity for further discussion and we would use the opportunity of the Committee stage to do it. My advice to the Committee would be to reject each and every amendment as it comes along because I think no useful purpose is served by passing amendments in this Chamber. But I think that it is possible—as many noble Lords have said, this has been agreed by the usual channels and by others—that we can have a discussion on these matters. It might be to the benefit of the noble Lords, Lord Bruce and Lord Stoddart, if they were able to raise their points and I, on behalf of the Government, could then give a considered response. But I hope that after they have listened to those considered responses, they will not feel it necessary to seek the opinion of the Committee on each or any of their amendments.

If I may, I would now, hoping that I shall not be interrupted, seek to address a little more briefly than the noble Lord did his own amendment, Amendment No. 1, which he moved and in speaking to it spoke also to Amendment No. 7. I have no intention whatsoever on this occasion of arguing that it is not a proper amendment. I would be quite happy to do that, whatever the advice of the Clerks, if I felt it was not a proper amendment. It is perfectly in order. But I have to say in passing that, because of the way he has transcripted it from, I presume, Cmnd. 2702, without, I think, taking into account the correction slip, the amendment itself

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would be defective. Should we have passed the amendment, I believe we would then have to come back at a further Report stage to amend his amendment.

I also wanted to assure the noble Lord that in no way was it necessary for him to put down the amendment merely to ensure that sufficient copies would be available. As he made that point, I asked one of my colleagues on the Front Bench to run, walk or whatever to the Printed Paper Office. My noble friend Lady Trumpington did exactly that and took advice from the Printed Paper Office. I received the assurance that there are sufficient copies there for the noble Lord and others who might want to have a copy of it.

I do not believe that there is a need to add the own resources decision as a schedule to the Bill. It was certainly not done in 1985 or in 1988 and there has never been any question of the status of those own resources decisions. Indeed, none of the legislation listed in Schedule 1(2) to the European Communities Act appears as a schedule to that Act.

The reference in the Bill is perfectly clear. The inclusion of the Own Resources Decision as a schedule would add nothing. The Own Resources Decision has been published as a Command Paper and is readily available. Such an addition to the Bill would quite simply further lengthen a piece of legislation unnecessarily. The noble Lord will be aware of the calls from many noble Lords on that subject on many occasions, and I see the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, in his place.

Perhaps I may also deal with one other point which the noble Lord made. He referred to Part C of the future financing of the Community (the Delors II package), which I have in front of me. Page 5 refers to the fact that under the new Own Resources Decision the European Council asked the Commission to prepare a new Own Resources Decision incorporating those changes.

I believe that the noble Lord suspected that some funny business was going on. I can assure the noble Lord that there is nothing of the sort. The Edinburgh Council simply reached a political agreement on details such as the own resources ceiling. It simply then asked the Commission to prepare the new Own Resources Decision; namely, the legal text. That is what appears in the Command Paper, Cmnd. 2702, and was also published in the Official Journal of the European Union. That legal text incorporates that new ceiling. There is nothing sinister in the mention in subparagraph 5 of the new Own Resources Decision. I hope that the noble Lord will accept that assurance and will not feel it necessary to press the amendment on this occasion.

Lord Bruce of Donington: I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his reply and to all those who have taken part in this short debate. I believe it can be agreed that there are occasions when it is not possible at Second Reading to go into some of the details of various proposals which in the normal way are more appropriate to Committee stage. That is the purpose of Committee stages: to focus on matters of detail.

The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, may say that, in the light of our legal position vis-o-vis the Parliament Act and so on, it is largely irrelevant for us to discuss

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the matter here. However, I am quite sure that on reflection the noble Lord will agree that these are matters which it is proper for this Chamber to discuss in detail notwithstanding the fact that the Government in another place may pay no attention to them. As a testimonial for that position I draw the Government's attention—and that of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter—to the attendance in your Lordships' Chamber this afternoon on matters on which it is presumed to have little interest. I believe that the answer lies in the seats behind the noble Lord.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter: I am grateful to the noble Lord for allowing me to intervene. The noble Lord should be fair. I said that it was very good to discuss these issues in public and hope that they will be taken up by the media and public opinion, but that it would be pointless and foolish to divide the Committee when one knows that the result of the Division will be totally ineffective.

Lord Bruce of Donington: I am most grateful to the noble Lord, and ask the Committee to forgive the state of my voice at present.

Having accomplished my original purpose, I respectfully ask the Committee for leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Monson moved Amendment No. 2:


Page 1, line 13, leave out ("Communities'") and insert ("Union's").

The noble Lord said: I rise to move the amendment with more than my usual trepidation, partly because I am standing in for the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, at fairly short notice and partly because of the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, yesterday (at col. 24 of Hansard) described those of us who oppose the Bill or have doubts or reservations about it. The noble Lord described us as disaffected elements, very much in the same way as a high-ranking officer in the paramilitary forces of the Russian Ministry of the Interior would describe Chechen freedom fighters. One can only hope that we United Kingdom freedom fighters do not face a similar fate.

The reason for tabling the amendment is not that we actually want the budget extended to cover European Union expenditure in addition to the narrower European Community expenditure. Far from it. However, whether we want it or not, it seems that it is already a fait accompli.

The European Parliament has already asked its president to rename the budget of the European Communities the "budget of the European Union". Although no reason was given it seems clear that that is to reflect the fact that the common foreign and security policy, together with the justice and home affairs expenditure, is included in the budget for the first time.

The noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, (who I am sorry cannot be here today) was told by the Government in our Maastricht debates that Titles V and VI of European Union expenditure would be allocated from the Communities' budget but would be limited to

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administrative costs and possibly—but only if agreed unanimously in the Council—also to operational costs. The draft budget for 1995 shows that 901 million ecu were allocated to external aspects of certain Community policies and "other co-operation measures". Can the noble Lord, Lord Henley, tell us exactly what those are? Is it, as promised by the Government at the time of our Maastricht debates, all being spent purely on administration or is the Commission using Community funds to draw a Union competence into its clutches?

Will the Government give an assurance that the distinction between the Community and the Union will not become blurred, as apparently the European Parliament wants to happen so that the Community and the Union ultimately become indistinguishable? We await the answer with interest.

Incidentally, I believe that this covers the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Richard. In any Third Reading debate we could not expect detailed, semi-technical replies from the Government, whatever the matter being discussed. The noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, also made that point very well. I beg to move.

Lord Henley: The Council decision is entitled a decision on:


    "the system of the European Communities' own resources".

It is not a decision on the own resources of the Union. I am sure that the noble Lord will agree that a description used in an Act of Parliament to refer to another piece of legislation should correspond to the title of that legislation.

There is also a good reason for the Council's decision being referred to as a decision on the system of the European Communities' own resources, for it is not based on any article of the Treaty on European Union (namely Maastricht). Instead it is based entirely on articles of the various founding treaties—the Treaty of Rome and the treaties setting up the European Atomic Energy Community, the Coal and Steel Community, and so on.

The noble Lord went on to say that the European Parliament has asked that the European Communities' budget should be renamed the budget of the European Union. That is true, although the Council does not accept the Parliament's renaming of the budget because it is the budget of the European Communities. There is no question but that the own resources system legally relates simply to the Community, based, as I said, on the articles of the various founding treaties, and not to the Union itself.

I hope that with that explanation the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.


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