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Baroness Ludford: I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. I believe that we are discussing the inter-governmental part of the treaty, Title VI, relating to police and judicial co-operation. I believe that the noble Lord is referring to the Community pillar, Title IIIA, which the UK will not be part of. Therefore, perhaps it is logical that no one has spoken of Article 73o and we shall discuss those matters later in the debate.
Lord Shore of Stepney: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for that partial correction. However, there is an interconnection, which I clearly spelt out. That interconnection begins with Article 73m and then defers directly to Article 73o.
I have dealt with Article 73o(1)--namely, the transitional period--but what about the period when that comes to an end? Paragraph (2) reads in a very puzzling way. After this period of five years, it says that,
It then goes on to refer to the Council "acting unanimously". So we have unanimity in a transitional period and, apparently, unanimity in voting in the post-transitional period. I should like to establish, first,
that is, I believe, the co-decision procedure, which covers qualified majority voting, and so on, tooing and froing between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, but perhaps my noble friend will confirm that--
I am sure that my noble friend has mastered the complexity of these texts, but I have not. Indeed, I find myself bewildered; I do not know what they are talking about here. At any rate there must be some difference between the transitional period and the post-transitional period, although both of them seem to be well within the territory of their own treaty and the first pillar.
That is my first range of questions for my noble friend the Minister. I shall not pursue others very much further. I have tabled Amendments Nos. 52 and 53, which I suppose I should speak to formally. However, I shall deal now with Amendment No. 53, which relates to Europol and especially the references to Europol in the treaty provisions of Articles K.2 and K.4. Article K.2 deals with common action in the field of police co-operation and, again, gives us a great range of activities that other noble Lords have already commented upon. Precisely what the powers of Europol are I do not know. I should certainly welcome any information that my noble friend the Minister can give us when he responds.
That seems fairly clear; indeed, there has at least to be an agreement. But it would be most interesting to know the thinking of Her Majesty's Government on the matter. Do they not see that very considerable problems could arise if the "competent authorities" from other states were allowed to operate in the territory of the United Kingdom? They really must give us some guidance in that respect.
I shall conclude by saying that the amendments I have tabled have emphasised most strongly the need for reports to be made. Frankly, I do not expect my noble friend to answer the battery of searching questions that have been put to him tonight. Nor do I think, with the best will in the world, that we shall be given all the answers even in correspondence because much of this
Baroness Ludford: I thank the Minister for giving way. I was not quite quick enough in rising to my feet. I wish briefly to make a few remarks. My noble friend Lady Williams said that the difference between those who spoke this evening who view the European Union as an opportunity, and those who view it as a threat has been particularly evident. Some speakers perhaps do not quite fall into either category. However, I believe that there is something of a gulf here. I do not aspire to having a complete meeting of minds. I believe that part of that difference is due to differing attitudes to the sharing of power. Some of us believe that by sharing power and by pooling sovereignty in the European Union we gain opportunities and we make concrete progress. However, others see it as a loss. We believe that you win some and you lose some, but that on the whole you win more than you lose.
I believe it was the noble Earl, Lord Clanwilliam, who referred to a threat to national identity. I believe that one of the things that is to be welcomed in the Treaty of Amsterdam is precisely the new provision which states that the European Union will respect the national identities of member states. That provision did not exist before. I refer also to the protocol on subsidiarity. However, I do not wish to dwell on it as we shall have a later opportunity to discuss it. These are matters which make clear what the European Union is not, as well as what it is. They are entirely welcome matters to us on these Benches because, contrary to occasional charges, we do not want a centralised superstate. We want a body where powers are clearly identified and located and a body which is subject to the rule of law and to democratic controls so that we all know where we are. We do not want to see some agglomerate pooling of powers which overwhelms individuals. But unless it is clear that we are sharing powers, there will not be a meeting of minds. We on these Benches welcome--
The Earl of Clanwilliam: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way. My concern is whether we shall retain the common law, and whether the European Court of Justice will uphold the common law of the United Kingdom in its judgments. If it does not, it will be unjust.
Baroness Ludford: It is essential--and, on the whole, it is achieved in the European Union--to make clear what powers are being allocated to the European Community and the European Union and what powers
We on these Benches welcome the reform of the remaining third pillar. Later we shall discuss freedom of movement and border controls and therefore I shall not discuss those matters now. The substitution under the remaining third pillar of framework decisions, which are likely to be more frequently adopted than conventions, is something we welcome. We welcome the extension of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. As my noble friend said, we might have preferred that extension to give an opportunity to individuals through Article 177 references, but I suspect that we shall be disappointed on that score.
We also welcome the fact that the European Parliament is to be consulted on these matters. It will not have a legislative role--it will not be able to make amendments or be required to give consent--but it will have a consultative role. We would like to see co-operation between the European Parliament and national parliaments because in third pillar matters national parliaments have an important role to play in scrutinising proposed conventions and framework decisions. There needs to be liaison respecting the proper roles and not mutually infringing each other's competencies as between national parliaments and the European Parliament.
With reference to at least two of his amendments, the noble Lord, Lord Shore of Stepney, mentioned reports. We welcome that. What we do not support is requiring the ratification of the treaty to be dependent on receipt of such reports. However, his aim is to increase transparency and accountability. Our Ministers in the Council need to keep this Parliament better informed of the progress of matters. My noble friend referred to the memorandum. While improved scrutiny is proposed, I believe that only the final texts of framework decisions are to be made available. It might be helpful to have earlier texts of drafts. It has been a point of contention in the past that Members of Parliament and Members of your Lordships' House are not kept sufficiently informed of the evolution of texts.
I accept the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. When referring to the European Court of Justice, he talked about poor drafting of European Union decisions making the work of the court more difficult. Attention needs to be given to that. Drafting of Community legislation is often sloppy. When I worked
The noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, referred to the European budget. By resisting the operational expenditure under the third pillar being chargeable to the European Community budget, I wonder whether we would deny ourselves opportunities. For instance, if we were to manage to save money on, let us say, the common agricultural policy, the Union might wish to mount a big exercise against illegal importation of drugs. It would be extremely complicated to have a common operation where the financial burden had to be charged to all the different member states' budgets. It would be more convenient to put the burden on the Community budget.
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