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assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the Treaties.
the achievement of an ever-increasing degree of convergence of Member States actions.
The Member States shall support the Unions external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the Unions action in this area... They shall refrain from any action which is contrary to the interests of the Union or likely to impair its effectiveness as a cohesive force in international relations.
Mr. Clappison: Does my hon. Friend realise that his drawing attention to the important incremental change in the wording of the treaty about convergence of actions constitutes the first time that that serious change has been discussed in the House, and that the time for debate on security policy has passed?
There is no obligation for a member state to participate in the European Defence Agency, but the EDAs statute, seat and operational rules are subject to QMV in the Council. According to the EDAs statute, the steering board also makes decisions by QMV. If a member state participates, it does not have a veto. Obviously, if it does not participate, it does not have a veto. The policies that flow from the EDA are policies of the European Union that must be observed actively and unreservedly.
Mr. Jenkin: That member state would be in breach of the treaty. Let us be clear: there is no remit for the court in those mattersat least, that is the way in which I currently interpret the treatybut that member state would be in breach of international law, which would be a serious matter. If we think that that is likely to happen, we should not sign the treaty.
Let us consider the other major innovation in defence in the Lisbon treaty. It is called permanent structured co-operation. Again, I submit that, over time, it will become the framework in which all member states have to conduct their defence policies.
Those Member States whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework.
the Council shall adopt a decision establishing permanent structured cooperation...by qualified majority voting.
Permanent structured co-operation is therefore established by QMV. The obligations on member states are shown in the second protocol to the treaty. They are onerous. The protocol refers to a member state undertaking
to develop its defence capacities through the development of its national contributions and participation, where appropriate, in multinational forces.
If a participating Member State no longer fulfils the criteria or is no longer able to meet the commitments referred to in Articles 1 and 2 of the Protocol...the Council may...act by a qualified majority
to remove that member from the structured co-operation. With the conjunction of those double qualified majority votes, the European Unions policy is effectively removed from the scope of a single member states veto. It is therefore completely untrue that unanimity is the rule in defence, as the Government keep insisting.
Let us step back from the detail for a minute. From defence being barely mentioned as a possibility at Maastricht, there is now a clear direction, with the introduction of the new decision-making mechanisms and institutions in the Lisbon treaty. First we had the St. Malo agreement. The then Prime Minister insisted at Amsterdam that the Western European Union should not become another EU institution, but he allowed that to happen at Nice. The Government opposed the whole principle of permanent structured co-operation because, as the then Minister, the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), said, it would
undermine the inclusive, flexible, model of ESDP that the EU has agreed;
a new stage in the development of the European security and defence policy.
The provisions are therefore not just a tidying exercise; they are a big step forward. We know that the French intend to make defence a major priority of their presidency. The Government say that the provisions of title V remain intergovernmental in character, but the House must be aware that the term intergovernmental is not a precise term. NATO represents classic intergovernmentalism, but EU intergovernmentalism involves an altogether more fluid and dynamic structure, reflected in the mechanisms for decision making that I have described. The all-important relationship between NATO and European security and defence policy remains, however, ill defined and paralysed by technical disputes, with no certainty about who does what in the event of an international crisis, as the Secretary-General of NATO himself said just a year ago.
The Lisbon treaty institutions and decision making will relegate NATO primacy to the status of a constitutional monarch: largely ceremonial and largely irrelevant to the day-to-day functioning of defence policy in the European Union. We would do well to recall Bismarcks adage:
I have always found the word Europe on the lips of those...who wanted something from others...which they dared not demand in their own names.
The real security threats to the European Union that European militaries should address lie far from our shores. Afghanistan is the most immediately pressing security issue currently facing the European Union. If the new EU institutions and decision-making mechanisms were seriously going to help Europe in, to quote the treaty,
fully assuming its responsibilities within the international community,
While Europe fiddles with the ESDP, NATO burns in Afghanistan. While the Government scratch their head over how to persuade other NATO members to widen burden sharing, the EU continues to support EU defence institutions and decision making, which has reinforced the idea among most European nations that somehow Europe will provide the defence that they are not willing to pay for themselves.
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich) (Lab):
The interesting thing about the speech that the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin) just made is that he highlighted an aspect of the discussion that is in danger of being lost. When people want to take over power, they do not just change the institutions and the voting patterns; they extend the work of those who are in control of the Secretariat and, over and above that, look for other reasons to extend their power. In many
ways, the institutions of the EC are not so much confrontational as made up of oozing material that gently finds its way into the cracks.
What we should do is very simple: follow the money. Politicians, particularly those of us in democracies, are always wise to follow the money. Where is it going? How is it being used? What is its purpose? Over the past 10 years, there has been a clear and material programme of removing powers, particularly in transport, from the House of Commons to European institutions. Let us not think that we are talking about something unimportant. The annual budget in 2008 for major transport policy areas, projects and agencies is £22 million for the European Aviation Safety Agency, which we never felt the need for before, £33 million for the European Maritime Safety Agency and £7.91 million for transport safety.
The list goes on, and includes the ubiquitous Galileo, which we are told is not needed by a European institution; indeed, we certainly must not have Galileo, becauseheaven help uswe might have a defence use for it in a European army. Nevertheless, we must continue to follow its development, which includes a programme of £670 million in the next year and a supervisory authority costing another £7.9 million, which contribute to a total budget of £803.82 billion.
Why is that important? It is important because, no matter which aspect of transport we consider, we see how European regulations are increasingly taking over control. We find that we have packages in railways, for example. We have four packages in railwayswe are launching forth on the fifthalthough the contents of the first package have not been put into operation. We see the movement in European aviation from British institutions, whether they are for checking the safety of aircraft in the air or the training of engineers in the aviation industry, to European institutions.
We also see the changes in the grands projets such as Galileo, which are taking many hundreds of thousands of pounds from our transport budgets. Let us be quite clear: if we contribute at the rate of 17 per cent. of that budget, on the basis of transport alone, we are giving up the right practically to fulfil a whole list of projects that are desperately needed in the United Kingdom. However, we are constantly told that we should not be arguing about that, because we influence such matters only through joint co-operation.
What we are debating today is, in a sense, a done deal. We are talking about powers that have already been leached away and powers that will continue to be leached away. When we talk about national Parliaments, we should accept that if we in the House are not very careful, we will give up even more powers to those who will take decisions not on the political grounds that are acceptable to our electorate, but on the grounds of a spurious European general interest.
When someone enters politics, the first important concept that they come across is the concept of them. Whether a person starts at the council, county or Government level, they are of concern to their constituents. They take the decisions, they are responsible and they are spending our money. Every elected member of a body has to take account of that concept and explain not only who they are, but when they are we. The difficulty with the Bill is that they are not we. They are not elected and not representative, and they are creating a highly complex
set of machinery that is moving further and further away from elected representatives and basic national Parliaments. The result, in all circumstances, will be disastrous for the future of the United Kingdom.
Bill Wiggin (Leominster) (Con): I should like to talk about competences, and about marine biological resources in particular. Instead of having a debate about the levels at which marine biological resources and the marine environment are best managed, and clarifying those responsibilities in a directive or treaty that would hand more powers back to the UK, we are being forced to accept EU exclusive competence. I fear that, once this power grabwhich is codified in articles 2B and 2C of the Lisbon treaty, and is identical to the provisions in the EU constitutionhas taken place, it will be difficult ever to reverse or amend the problem in the future. Most importantly of all, however, the measures will not materially benefit our marine environment, and will damage our conservation efforts.
In the past, we have seen the EU frustrate our efforts to protect the marine environment, which in the UK includes more than 44,000 animal and plant species. French pair trawlers are able to operate up to six nautical miles from our coast, crushing, wounding, drowning and killing porpoises and dolphins, which are supposed to be protected under EU law. The Government banned our fishermen from using this harmful practice, but the European Commission rejected their proposal to make this ban effective for all vessels fishing within the 12 nautical mile limit.
We banned pair trawling in the western channel. We do not have the ability to ban French vessels...We presented our argument in Europe and we took unilateral action to ban pair trawlingthat constitutes taking an effective measure.
We argued our case and we were unable to persuade others, but we are taking action ourselves.[ Official Report, 31 January 2008; Vol. 471, c. 456.]
Well, I say tell that to the families who might have the misfortune to find a dead cetacean washed up on the beach. That really is not good enough at all. Given the Governments admission that the EU has already blocked our domestic efforts to protect our marine mammals, can it really be trusted with exercising exclusive competence in this matter?
We should be seeking to ensure that we can take action to protect our marine environmentaction that
can make a real difference and that my opponent, the Fisheries Minister, can say has worked, rather than leaving him blushing and admitting that once again the Government have been thwarted by the EU.
Angus Robertson: What explanation can the hon. Gentleman give for the fact that the fisheries sectors of Norway, Iceland and the Faroe islands are vibrant and successful, while fishing within the European Union is a complete disaster? Why is that the case?
Bill Wiggin: It would be so simple to put that down to the fact that they are single-species fisheries, but I believe that they also manage their fisheries very well. We have a separate set of problems with mixed fisheries such as the North sea. Now I really must hurry on.
UK policy custodian for the marine and aquatic environment,
clean, safe, healthy, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.
marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy,
The Government have already admittedfor example, in the 2004 strategy unit report Net Benefits, and in the discussions over the marine strategy directivethat the present marine management arrangements between the EU and the UK are unclear. However, they have refused to take action to elucidate them. If given exclusive competence, what action could the EU take to protect the pink sea fans in Lyme bay, where there is a conflict between conservationists and scallop dredgers, or to protect the sea bed that is so important to those corals?
During the marine Bill consultation, more than 90 per cent. of respondents believed that existing measures to protect marine species were not adequate. What a damning indictment of EU and Government policies. This year, the draft marine Bill is expected to be published, but Ministers have already conceded that any marine conservation zones and protected areas implemented under the Bill would have no legal force over vessels with historical fishing rights between our 6 and 12 nautical mile limits. There could be many more occasions like the discussion on the pair trawling ban, when Ministers stroll down to Brussels, make their case and desperately plead with the Commissions pen-pushing bureaucrats, only to have their ambitions torn apart and thrown out, and then return to Britain defeated and without the necessary protection for our marine environment.
the conservation of marine biological resources.
Before the much-promised marine Bill has even been presented to Parliament in draft form, the Government have already acted to dilute the Bills contents and benefits by accepting the Lisbon treaty. They have accepted that
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