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Mr. Jenkin: I am grateful for my right hon. Friend's intervention. He will agree that it is an extraordinary turn of events that members of this American Administration, who are so personally grateful to the Prime Minister for his support during the Iraq war, should speak out in public to criticise the policy that he has been pursuing in Europe. Almost every member of the Administration to whom I have spoken has said, "We are extremely worried, but there is no way we are going to criticise Mr. Blair after he has been so helpful to us in Iraq." Despite that, they eventually blew a gasket when the Secretary of State attended the NATO ministerial meeting in Colorado Springs earlier this month: I understand that he was taken to task by Mr. Donald Rumsfeld. They are seriously concerned about the destabilising of NATO that is so against their and our European security interests.
Last week, we obtained and released a remarkable document drafted in the German military high command, entitled, "From ESDP to a European Army".
Mr. Paul Keetch (Hereford): It was in The Sun.
Mr. Jenkin: I thank the hon. Gentlemanyes, we gave it to The Sun. I can assure him that we did not get it from The Sun. It was also in The Daily Telegraph.
The document was drafted in July 2002 and released secretly among the German Government during spring 2003. The Minister for Europe, in a hastily dispatched letter to The Daily Telegraph, rather lamely protests that this is just another
Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham): My hon. Friend is guiding the House with admirable clarity through the thickets of public policy and he is rightly disdainful of the sedentary protestations of the Minister for Europe. Does he agree that a common defence policy, independent of NATO and in the European Union, requires the existence of a common identity, purpose and willingness to make equal sacrifices to achieve that purpose? Given that none of those conditions is currently satisfied, does he agree that such a policy is, at best, a dangerous illusion and at worst, a potential disaster?
Mr. Jenkin: I agree with my hon. Friend, but I believe that the European Union has tended to operate in that way. It has tended to try to create the framework for policy on which there is no agreement in the hope of creating agreement. It is an unwise policy, not least because it creates the expectation of an agreement when there is bound to be disagreement; otherwise, we would all have agreed on what to do about Iraq.
Mr. David Marshall (Glasgow, Shettleston): The hon. Gentleman talks about agreement, but I am puzzled by some of his comments. Has he read the Prime Minister's amendment? If so, with what parts does he disagree and why?
Mr. Jenkin: I shall explain why I disagree with the Government amendment later.
Today, I shall place a copy of the documentin the original German for the benefit of the Minister for Europe and in translation so that he can check that we have had it accurately translatedin the Library for all to see. The most germane parts to the debate are comments on "an equal partnership" with the United States of America.
It states that if NATO and the EU cannot agree on decisions,
The objective of German policy and that of the Secretary of State is duplication and competition between NATO and the European Union.
Mr. Hoon: The hon. Gentleman is making a commendable speech that could have been delivered to the Bundestag, but I am struggling to find its relevance to British Government policy or, perhaps more significantly, to that of the European Union. To correct his historical record, he will find that the German military high command was abolished in 1945.
Mr. Jenkin: That may be a matter of translation. Unlike the Minister for Europe, I do not speak fluent German and I am therefore happy to be corrected. However, that does not get the right hon. Gentleman off the hook of the substance of the policy.
The British Government accepted the principle of EU military autonomy at St. Malo and afterwards. The key elements of the German paper are reflected in the draft EU constitution: a new European defence order, including a new European defence agency, defined by a framework of laws, ultimately justiciable by the European Court of Justice.
The House can set no store by the Government's so-called red lines. The White Paper on the European constitution, which was published in September, shows the weakness and ambiguity of the Government's policy. The security of our nation will hang on the crucial phrases that
NATO today is Europe's defence and security alliance, but it is clearly the intention that the EU should compete with, duplicate and take over from NATO all its tasks and functions except the most residual. The Prime Minister protests that
Mr. MacShane: This is perhaps a conversation rather than a heated debate, so it is kind of the hon. Gentleman to give way. Can he say how his arguments conform to the second paragraph of article 42 of the proposed constitutional treaty, which of course is not yet negotiated? It states:
Mr. Jenkin: The key word is "obligations". If the Minister would like to come back to the Dispatch Box to describe the United Kingdom's obligations to NATO that the treaty respects, I shall listen to him. There are very few obligations under the NATO treatyit is a commitment, but there is not much of an obligation. Even when article 5 is invoked, it remains essentially voluntary on the member states, not obligatory. [Interruption.] I am sorry, but it is absolutely true.
The fundamental difference between the draft constitution and the NATO treaty is that the constitution will have the force of statute in our law whereas the NATO treaty does not. The obligations in that document will clearly become superior to those under the NATO treaty. Does the Minister for Europe want me to give way? That is game, set and match on that point, thank you very much.
The European constitution declares that it will have supremacy over the law of the member states, so it will clearly have superiority in terms of its parity with the Atlantic alliance. The Prime Minister has either unwittingly walked into a trap of his own making or he is deliberately deceiving the British people about his real intention to divide the EU from NATO.
The only way to protect NATO is to veto any such constitution and to insist that foreign, security and defence policy remain a matter for intergovernmental co-operationnot central co-ordinationcompletely separate from any institutions for making or interpreting laws. That is the fundamental problem with this constitution. It dissolves the three-pillar structure and folds the defence and security policy into the central pillar of the EU, which is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The Minister for Europe is still shaking his head, so I will divert from my text to make a particular point. Article I 15, entitled "The Common Foreign and Security Policy", in part 1 of the draft constitution, states
2. Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the acts adopted by the Union in this area. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union's interests or likely to impair its effectiveness."