Select Committee on European Union Forty-First Report


CHAPTER 7: SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

The IGC

314. We are concerned that if absolute priority is given to reaching agreement on the draft Treaty by the end of the year, this will undermine the need for a serious discussion of what are complex and significant issues. We nevertheless endorse the decision made by the European Council that the IGC should complete its work in time for it "to become known to European citizens before the June 2004 elections for the European Parliament". (paragraph 12)

315. Discussion of issues raised by the draft Treaty has to be during the IGC, as the subsequent ratification process by national parliaments does not allow an opportunity for amendment of the Treaty, only for its approval or rejection. (paragraph 9)

316. We urge the Member States, as they engage in constitutional discussions, not to lose sight of the overriding importance of ensuring that reforms to complete the Single Market are carried through. To this end we make recommendations about the need for flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact. (paragraph 24)

The need for analysis of the draft Treaty

317. We are pleased to note the Government's undertaking to provide an analysis of the draft Treaty against existing Treaty provisions. We would expect this document, in analysing every Article of the draft Treaty, to identify in particular which provisions are new, and where there are changes to competences and to provisions for QMV. It will also be important for the Government to set out their understanding of the inter-relationship between the provisions which affect decision-making, including the passerelle, the right of initiative and the flexibility clause. Such analysis should be made available to Parliament and to the public as soon as possible as the IGC unfolds, as our Government's negotiators are already engaged in work in the IGC. The analysis should also include a more detailed glossary than that provided for the general reader in the White Paper. (paragraph 27)

Definition and objectives of the Union

318. We are satisfied that a definition of "citizens" is not necessary for the purposes of Article I-1. (paragraph 52)

319. We see no cause for concern in Article I-3(1) (the Union's aim). (paragraph 53)

320. We welcome the removal of the phrase "ever closer Union". (paragraph 54)

321. The draft Treaty expressly states that the Union can only act within the limits of the competences which the Member States have conferred upon it (Article I-9(2)). We support this approach because the draft Treaty makes plain the intention that the European Union remains a union of sovereign Member States. (paragraph 55)

322. What is meant by "in the Community way" needs to be made clear. The extent to which this phrase, because of its position and prominence in Article I-1(1), may, intentionally or not, constitute a superior rule or governing principle also needs further examination and explanation. In particular, the relationship between Article I-1(1) and those provisions of the new Treaty dealing with the CFSP need further careful examination. The concern strongly expressed about this matter in the House's debate on 9th September supports our view. (paragraph 59)

323. Overall, however, the draft Treaty's definition of the EU clearly sets out for the citizen what the EU is. (paragraph 60)

324. By dropping an unnecessarily rigid formulation requiring the Union to maintain the acquis communautaire the draft Treaty could provide some flexibility, which we welcome. (paragraph 64)

325. We recommend that the Government, as part of its analysis of the draft Treaty, indicates in the case of each objective of the Union set out in Article I-3 how the wording has changed from any previous text. In addition, to promote public understanding and thus help to meet the objective of clarity, the European Union should publish with the final Treaty a detailed explanation of how each of the objectives affects citizens as individuals. (paragraph 65)

Competences

326. The use of Union competence is expressly stated to be governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. What is not said, though it may be implicit or be implied from Article I-7, is that the exercise of Union competences is also governed by the need to respect fundamental rights. We believe that this should be made express in Article I-9. (paragraph 69)

327. The reference to "competition" being a matter of exclusive competence, though qualified by the phrase "necessary for the functioning of the internal market", is still confusing and needs clarification. (paragraph 71)

328. We note the Government's assurance that the draft Treaty "for the most part clarifies rather than alters the current division of powers". The list of exclusive competences is short and according to the Convention's Praesidium reflects the list of exclusive competences under existing Treaties. We accept this assurance. Article I-12(2), however, appears to give a power to amend the list in the case of concluding international agreements and we would welcome an explanation of the effect of this provision. (paragraph 72)

329. We note the definition of shared competence in Article I-11(2). We would welcome further explanation of where the boundaries of shared competences will be set and who will have jurisdiction to settle disputes. (paragraph 73)

330. Article III-217 (Common Commercial Policy) appears to create a simpler regime than applies under the Nice Treaty, which we welcome, but the Article remains complex and the Government should explain this provision. (paragraph 75)

331. The Government should provide a clear statement of the nature and extent of the new competences that would be accorded to the Union under the draft Treaty. As a contribution to accountability, the implications of these changes to the Treaties should be explained and justified to Parliament. (paragraph 76)

332. In addition, as these will be matters over which national parliaments will lose competence, Parliament must, on the specified occasions, have an opportunity to express a view on the proposed changes before the Government signs the Treaty. What we propose is a new procedure, in addition to the normal ratification process that will take place once the Treaty is signed. As we have already stressed, under the ratification process Parliament can only accept or reject the Treaty, not amend it. It is therefore essential, where the competences of national parliaments are at stake, to find new ways of involving Parliament at an earlier stage. paragraph 77)

333. Interested parties should be consulted as soon as possible so that the Government is fully informed of concerns as detailed discussion in the IGC proceeds. It is essential that such detailed consultation is begun by all the relevant Government departments well before any legislative measures begin to come forward that would have an impact on businesses and consumers. Only with such detailed supporting work will what is proposed by the draft Treaty be able to deliver a genuine enhancement of the Union's efficiency. (paragraph 78)

334. The Government welcomed the Flexibility Clause (Article I-17) provided that CFSP was excluded from its provision. Clarity in this regard is essential - it is simply too dangerous to leave the status of CFSP unclear - and we accordingly recommend that the Government ensures this. (paragraph 82)

335. The Government must also satisfy itself and Parliament that the new provisions, including those on shared competences in Article I-13, are not so open-ended that they could lead to a considerable expansion of European Union activity. (paragraph 83)

336. If national parliaments are to have a meaningful role in the context of Article I-17 their views on the vires and merits of a proposed extension of Union competence should be fully taken into account. The current provisions accordingly need to be strengthened to this effect. (paragraph 84)

337. In addition, any proposal to use the flexibility provision in Article I-17 to increase the competences of the European Union should not be supported by the Government without the prior approval of Parliament in each case. We call on the Government to state clearly whether they accept this new safeguard which we also recommend should apply to any extension of EU competence in criminal law and procedure. (paragraphs 85 and 274)

338. Nevertheless, subject to these caveats, we are satisfied with the safeguards provided in the new flexibility clause and would wish it to be retained as a contribution to the enhanced efficiency of the Union. (paragraph 86)

Qualified Majority Voting (QMV)

339. The draft Treaty does not propose to extend QMV to matters of tax or social security. We encourage the Government to stand firm in resisting any attempt to amend the draft Treaty to do so. (paragraph 93)

340. It is clear that the draft Treaty will not alter the way the economies of the EU will work. On the question of principle, however, we urge caution on the part of those strongly objecting to QMV in a particular area. This is because we agree that, in a Union of 25, the unanimity provision could make the decision-making process unduly rigid in some areas. (paragraph 96)

341. The revisions to QMV are clearly designed to enhance the efficiency of the Union. Concerns about its use, however, remain and, in the interests of clarity and accountability, we accordingly urge the Government to set out, in detail and as a matter of urgency, those areas where concerns over QMV remain. (paragraph 97)

Subsidiarity

342. Although we have previously pressed for a red card, we accept that the subsidiarity mechanism as it stands in the Protocol to the draft Treaty is intended to strengthen democracy in the EU. To do so, however, the mechanism must work, and must work effectively. The Government must accordingly satisfy Parliament that the yellow card will indeed be an effective mechanism. We consider that the yellow card procedure requires further safeguards and to this end we make a series of recommendations to strengthen what is proposed in the draft Protocol. (paragraph 115)

343. The Commission's reasons for responding as it does to a yellow card should be detailed, should relate directly to the concerns expressed by national parliaments and should be promptly transmitted to national parliaments and to the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers (to whom the Protocol provides for national parliaments' concerns to be conveyed.) (paragraph 116)

344. We also recommend that the Protocol's subsidiarity procedure should extend to issues of proportionality, that is cases where the Commission is thought to be acting correctly but too intrusively or too heavy-handedly. Although we can see an argument that concerns about proportionality will be less clear cut than those of subsidiarity, and the mechanism thus harder to operate, we nevertheless consider that, to enhance the democratic safeguards provided by the yellow card procedure, it should extend to proportionality as well as subsidiarity. We are thus pleased to see that our Government is pressing for this. (paragraph 117)

345. The draft Protocol also needs to make it clear that the proposed subsidiarity mechanism applies at every stage of every legislative proposal. (paragraph 118)

346. Looking to the role of national parliaments, we first recommend that this House develops a strong internal procedure for the subsidiarity mechanism, drawing on co-operation with the Commons where appropriate but recognising that each Chamber will have an independent vote. Once the draft Treaty has been agreed, we will report further to the House on the mechanics of operating the subsidiarity mechanism. (paragraph 119)

347. An effective subsidiarity mechanism will also require resolute and efficient collective action by national parliaments to ensure that concerns are shared within the timescales set by the Protocol. (paragraph 120)

348. We recommend that national parliaments develop a system to allow the collective recording of subsidiarity objections by a simple means - preferably by way of contributions by each national parliament to a special website. National parliaments, again acting collectively, should appoint a monitor to count objections and notify the Commission when the threshold is reached. (paragraph 122)

349. Overall, we consider that a subsidiarity mechanism with these additional features would indeed represent an important development of democracy in the Union and, by clearly stating and enhancing the role of national parliaments in helping to ensure that the Commission does not act when it should not do so, would help to confirm that the European Union is a union of Member States. (paragraph 123)

Future Treaty Revision

350. We see no case for the Treaty to make a general provision for future revisions to be achieved other than by the normal process of Treaty amendment requiring unanimity between Member States and a process of ratification involving, in the case of the United Kingdom, the national parliament. (paragraph 128)

351. Nevertheless, we accept that there may be specific areas where some less rigid procedure is required. For example, we have made proposals for more flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact. To achieve that, the Treaty might usefully make express provision, in specified articles, for those articles to be amended by the Member States acting unanimously rather than by way of the formal Treaty revision process. By specifying the articles in the Treaty now, Parliament would be aware of what was envisaged before the Treaty came to be ratified. (paragraph 129)

352. On a separate point, we do not oppose the provision that, in certain cases, the convening of a Convention would precede the process of Treaty amendment and ratification. (paragraph 130)

What is new in the Treaty?

353. A considerable range of matters have already become subject to EU law in earlier treaties. The extension of EU law in this Treaty seems relatively limited by comparison and we repeat our earlier conclusion that "it is clear that the balance of power is going to shift from the Commission to the Member States". (paragraph 134)

354. There is, however, a need for clarification whether matters of CFSP fall within the scope of Article 10. (paragraph 135)

355. There is also a need for clarity on the future position of the various existing national "opt-outs" under the draft Treaty. It is unclear whether the IGC will amend the draft Treaty to provide for further opt-outs should they be desired by any Member States. (paragraph 136)

President of the European Council

356. Few details are available about the administrative support for the post. We recommend that the Government clarify whether this would be drawn from the Council secretariat, or whether a cabinet would be created and if so what the presentational effect of that would be given the concerns expressed about the potential influence of the post. (paragraph 148)

357. We understand that the term "chair" used in Article I-21 has no equivalent in French but we recommend that the IGC amend Article I-21 so that it consistently adopts, in the English text, the term "chair". This would made the functions of the post clearer. (paragraph 149)

358. We recommend that the earlier wording be re-instated to make it clear that the postholder cannot hold office in another institution at the same time as chairing the European Council. (paragraph 152)

359. Some may be concerned that there is no opportunity for citizens directly to elect the President of the European Council. It might be argued that this is an opportunity missed to bring the Union closer to the citizens and to make it more democratic and accountable. It is, however, a consequence of the fact that the European Union, a union of Member States, is partly intergovernmental and partly supra-national that some of the normal attributes of a democratic state, including the ability of citizens to remove a government that displeases them, do not apply. (paragraph 153)

360. We would welcome more details on the precise role and functions of the European Council President, including a clearer definition of the tasks to be undertaken in the long-term. (paragraph 154)

361. As a contribution to democratic accountability, we recommend that Member States' Governments formally deposit the President's reports after each European Council for scrutiny by national parliaments in accordance with their established procedures. We accordingly propose that the regular statements to Parliament after each European Council be supplemented by an annual debate in each House on the priorities of the Union. (paragraph 156)

362. As a contribution to transparency and legitimacy, we would welcome a clear and agreed statement by all Member States at the IGC on the process of choosing the Council chair. (paragraph 157)

363. Subject to a satisfactory outcome on these points at the IGC, we would support the post of chair of the European Council as a contribution to a more effective Union. (paragraph 158)

364. We recommend that the Government explains precisely how in practice the process of agreement by consensus will operate in the European Council. (paragraph 159)

Legislative Council

365. We fear that the Legislative Council as proposed could be no more than a rubber stamp, thus undermining the contribution of its open proceedings to democratic accountability. We see no presumption that open and accountable discussion of policy will be secured in this forum or that significant records of deliberations will be made publicly available. (paragraph 168)

366. If, as we fear, the Legislative Council were simply to endorse the decisions of other Council formations, any public record of its work would be merely formal. The proposal fails to ensure that the Council when discussing significant policy as part of the process of legislating does so in public. There is a risk that the Legislative Council in its present form will do nothing to deliver the openness and transparency required by the Laeken mandate. (paragraph 169)

367. There is no need for a separate Legislative Council to meet in public if each individual council meets in public (and is televised) when agreeing legislation and if a full "Hansard" of proceedings, including details of any votes taken, is published promptly after each meeting. We recommend that the Government seeks to amend the draft Treaty at the IGC to achieve this as a more efficient contribution to transparency and democratic accountability than would seem to be provided by the proposed Legislative Council. (paragraph 171)

Other Council formations

368. The Government should present a proposal to Parliament on how the complex mathematics of chairing Council formations would work. (paragraph 173)

The passerelle

369. In spite of the safeguards we oppose the passerelle provision. It could have the effect of allowing the Council to abolish unanimity in certain areas without any substantive involvement of national parliaments. This would both weaken democratic accountability and undermine the role of Member States. It would also weaken public confidence in the stability of the Treaty's provisions, in particular in the division of competences. (paragraph 177)

370. We note that the Government too is unconvinced by what is proposed and we urge the Government to secure the deletion of this provision at the IGC. The only circumstances under which a passerelle would be acceptable would be if the Treaty itself specified particular articles in relation to which a passerelle could be used. If the Government decides that it could accept such a limited and specifically targeted provision, the onus will be on the Government to satisfy Parliament that the potential negative effects of the procedure in general can be countered in those specific cases. (paragraph 178)

Majority Voting

371. A dual majority clearly enhances the democratic accountability of the Union by providing a calculation for the weighting of votes which includes both population and states. The dual majority is accordingly welcome. (paragraph 183)

European Parliament

372. We have previously called for proposals from the Government to improve accountability during co-decision and we would wish to see progress from the Government very soon. (paragraph 189)

373. The draft Treaty clearly provides for an increase in the powers of the European Parliament, which in turn enhances democracy in the Union. There is, however, a need for increased powers for the Parliament to be matched with increased responsibilities, including the provision of impact assessments on amendments to legislation. (paragraph 192)

The Commission

374. The Committee supports the draft Treaty's provisions for the election of the Commission President. As with the chair of the European Council the apparent lack of direct democratic legitimacy is a consequence of the Union being a union of Member States. (paragraph 203)

375. In our view, the draft Treaty's proposals concerning the number of Commissioners are not ideal in enhancing the efficiency or accountability of the Union. (paragraph 209)

376. On balance, however, we accept the provisions of the draft Treaty. We can also see that the Commission's own proposals might gain support, particularly to meet some of the concerns of smaller Member States about changes to the Council presidency. We accordingly urge the Government to study the Commission's proposal closely and report to Parliament on its practicability. (paragraph 210)

Other Institutions

377. We are conducting a separate inquiry into the European Court of Justice. Adequate access to the Court is of fundamental importance. (paragraph 211)

378. The Government clearly wishes the Court of Auditors to remain an institution but to be reformed. We have expressed our support for reforms to the Court (and particularly its size, as one representative for each Member State is already an unworkable system). We accordingly welcome the Government's latest proposals in this regard. It is now imperative that the Government promotes its proposal in the IGC. (paragraph 213)

Institutional change

379. The key test in judging the institutional changes proposed by the draft Treaty is whether they enhance the Union's ability to operate effectively and efficiently and whether they contribute to democratic accountability. We stress again that direct democratic legitimacy may well be difficult to obtain as long as the European Union remains a union of Member States rather than a state. (paragraph 214)

380. We conclude that the proposals for reforming the European Council - and in particular for the reform of the Presidency - meet this test, provided that remaining uncertainties are clarified, and provided that there is adequate accountability to national parliaments. The Commission's own proposals for its reform need further study but the proposals in the draft Treaty are likely to pass the efficiency test. Proposals in the draft Treaty for reforming the European Parliament make a contribution to democratic accountability. (paragraph 215)

Transparency

381. Our own Government has continued in the open spirit of the Convention. (paragraph 219)

382. As a contribution to ensuring that citizens feel that discussions about the future of Europe - their future - are being made openly and as far as possible in accordance with democratic accountability, we urge the Government to release more information about the IGC. (paragraph 223)

383. We regret the lack of published records of the IGC. There should accordingly be regular reports back by Ministers to Parliament on substantive issues being deliberated on at the IGC. (paragraph 226)

384. General public interest in EU affairs in this country remains limited. Nevertheless, the new provisions on subsidiarity have the potential to contribute to a greater public engagement, provided that the word itself is explained. Any objection by a national parliament would be seen as that parliament standing up for national interests. (paragraph 229)

385. Public understanding of the issues raised by the draft Treaty is low and we question how far a document with the significance of a Treaty will ever be wholly understood by every citizen. It is the duty of the government in a democracy not only to convey the Treaty's key themes to the public (as our Government has done) but also to set out fully and clearly what the Treaty means. This must include its effects on Parliament, on the Government, on the role of the Courts and on citizens' right. Whatever the timetable of the IGC, there is clearly a need for a significant enhancement in public presentation by the Government. (paragraph 231)

386. The European Strategy Committee recently set up by the Prime Minister and charged with coordinating the pro-European effort across Whitehall should not only concentrate on the question of British membership of the Euro, but should take a wider remit in informing the public about the EU in general. (paragraph 232)

387. In particular, we urge the Government to direct further resources to discussion and debate in schools and universities, in addition to the material being disseminated by the European Union. (paragraph 234)

388. The Government should also do more actively to heighten the profile of British MEPs and explain the pivotal role they will have in a Union where increasingly decisions are taken by co-decision between the European Parliament and the Council. (paragraph 233)

Democracy: National Parliaments and scrutiny

389. The text should be amended to make it clear that COSAC is a body for national parliamentary committees specialising in European scrutiny to co-operate (along with the European Parliament) and not a body for so-called sectoral committees specialising in individual policy areas. (paragraph 237)

390. Stipulating minimum timescales for scrutiny before decisions can be reached on legislation in the Council will, if the timescales are observed, allow national parliamentary scrutiny of EU legislation to be more effective. (paragraph 238)

391. We will be working with our colleagues in the Commons and with the Government to try to secure the most effective parliamentary scrutiny. But there will be a number of matters where we will be pressing the "Usual Channels" and the House itself to take forward some ideas where we wish to go further than the Government itself would wish. These include finding a means to strengthen the effect of the House's scrutiny reserve resolution. Appropriate additional resources will be required. (paragraph 240)

392. Given the comparative remoteness of the European Parliament and MEPs, Article I-45 underscores the need for national parliaments and individual parliamentarians to be aware of, and react to, developments in the Union both through the formal process of Parliamentary scrutiny and in other ways,. (paragraph 244)

393. The Government must, ensure that answers to questions concerning the separation of executive and legislative functions are provided during the course of the IGC. (paragraph 248)

394. Overall, it will not be easy to persuade the individual citizen that the draft Treaty brings them any new or substantially improved rights, or provides any detail on how their participation in the democratic life of the Union can be enhanced. The Government will need to explain more clearly why this is so. (paragraph 249)

395. As a contribution to transparency, we urge the Government to revisit during the IGC the right of access to documents. (paragraph 250)

The Charter of Fundamental Rights

396. We welcome the changes to the provisions regarding the Charter. We seek a specific assurance that the safeguards applied to the Charter in the draft Treaty are indeed binding on the Commission. We also question how far the efficacy of the provisions of the commentary will withstand the development of case law by the ECJ. (paragraph 257)

397. We seek an assurance from the Government that, were the Charter to be omitted, alternative means would be found of clearly re-assuring the citizen that the draft Treaty enhances human rights. (paragraph 258)

398. We would welcome further clarification of the effect accession to the ECHR would have on any decision to adopt the Charter. (paragraph 260)

Freedom, Security and Justice

399. We welcome the express reference to scrutiny of Europol by national parliaments and the European Parliament, which reflects the Committee's recommendations. However, we would like to see a specific reference to 'scrutiny' being also inserted in the provision relating to Eurojust. (paragraph 265)

400. We welcome developments on border checks, asylum and immigration. The Committee has endorsed the concept of financial burden sharing. The Committee also noted with approval that a specific legal basis for integrated border management, along with the merging of the Pillars, would subject border control measures to a high level of judicial control and parliamentary accountability, although it remained uncertain whether it would lead in time to the establishment of a European Border Guard which we would oppose in line with an earlier report. (paragraph 267)

401. We welcome the limitation of action in the field of criminal procedure to cases having a cross-border dimension, which is in conformity with the recommendation in our earlier Report. We also welcome the tightening of the wording on the admissibility of evidence, but regret that the adoption of such rules remains subject to majority voting. (paragraph 271)

402. We welcome the safeguards in the provision on criminal law. However, we are concerned that Articles III-171(2)(d) and 172(2) would permit the extension of EU competence in criminal law and procedure without the need for a Treaty amendment and thus for ratification by national parliaments. We accordingly call for any such extensions of competence to be subject to the prior approval of Parliament in each case (as we have recommended in paragraph 85 above (Flexibility Clause)). We note that the Foreign Secretary has told the House of Commons: "we will oppose…measures that would undermine our system of common law and criminal law". (paragraph 274)

403. Article III-175 (European Public Prosecutor) is a surprising and undesirable inclusion in the Treaty. We recommend its deletion, although the provision for unanimity in this case means that any one Member State could veto any proposal actually brought forward. (paragraph 276)

404. It is questionable whether Eurojust should be given the open-ended brief conferred by Article III-174. It would be preferable to define Eurojust's mandate on the basis of specifically enumerated offences. (paragraph 277)

405. A defined exhaustive list of offences would be preferable under Article III-177 (possibly set out in a Protocol annexed to the Treaty). (paragraph 279)

Security and Defence

406. We urge the Government to recall in the forthcoming negotiations the view expressed to us that "none of these structures pretends to provide an operational EU military command structure either at the strategic or the tactical levels. There are no standing EU headquarters (just as there is no EU standing force). Any such EU operational command structure would duplicate existing NATO and national assets". (paragraph 283)

407. The Government's White Paper made clear its intention to resist the inclusion of any security guarantee in the new treaty which could rival or come to replace the security guarantee established through NATO. We fully support the Government in this. (paragraph 285)

408. We strongly support the creation of the European Armaments and Strategic Research Agency since it could improve the capabilities and inter-operabilities of the armed forces of Member States, but care needs to be taken to ensure that it does not become a tool for protectionism or constrain the ability of Member States to order armaments independently. (paragraph 286).

Foreign Policy

409. We urge the Government to negotiate the role of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs with extreme care. The person appointed to this post must remain firmly based in the Council, accountable to Member States. In order to make the status of the post less susceptible to unnecessary suspicion, we propose that a better job title be found, perhaps "Foreign Affairs Representative". (paragraph 296)

410. We are concerned that the Minister have sufficient institutional support. We support the creation of a 'Joint European External Action Service' which would bring together all the present Commission External Relations staff with Council staff. (paragraph 297)

Decision-making in foreign and security policy

411. We recommend that Article III - 201(2)(b) be amended by deleting the words "or that of the Minister" so that it clearly states that any implementing decision based on a proposal coming from the Minister must be preceded by a unanimous European Council request for such a proposal. This is particularly important since the Minister will have formal right of initiative across the whole area of CFSP, including defence (paragraph 302)

412. We wholly resist the inclusion of a catch-all passerelle clause in the draft Treaty. Having a passerelle clause for CFSP, with the safeguards we set out in paragraph 178, could be of value in the interests of some flexibility. (paragraph 303)

413. We are satisfied that Article III-201 (4) provides a sufficient safeguard against any extension of QMV into defence, provided that the Article also catches any attempt to extend QMV to defence issues under the provisions of Articles 39 and 40. (paragraph 304)

414. We strongly support the inclusion of the right of any Member State to require a vote not to be taken by citing reasons of national policy (as set out in the final paragraph in Article III - 201 (2)). (paragraph 305)

415. We recognise that there may be considerable value in having the Union's Minister speaking in the Security Council but this should not be a mandatory requirement. The word "may" should therefore replace the word "shall". (paragraph 308)

416. We recommend that there should be a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Union. This should be composed of both national parliamentarians and European parliamentarians. It should be an advisory body and thus not have decision making powers. (paragraph 310)

CFSP-overall conclusions

417. In the CFSP field, the draft Treaty consolidates the EU as union of Member States. CFSP will continue to be intergovernmental, and, as a rule, decided by unanimity. (paragraph 311)

418. The final Treaty may come to increase the effectiveness of how the CFSP is run. Much will depend on the detail of the proposed Minister for Foreign Affairs' role. We are not convinced that enhanced military co-operation between some Member States is the answer to a more effective security policy. (paragraph 312)

419. We remain unconvinced that the draft Treaty goes far enough in ensuring proper parliamentary scrutiny of CFSP. More could be done to increase the openness and accountability of the way the Union conducts CFSP. (paragraph 313)

Recommendation to the House

420. We make this report to the House for debate. We encourage the House to find an opportunity for such a debate during the IGC. (paragraph 21)


 
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