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Lord Tebbit: That is quite right, but it underlines once again that the noble Baroness should no longer, ever, use the expression that one parliament cannot bind its successors. That is precisely the position we are in now; parliaments can bind their successors. By putting the provision into the treaty, in effect the Government have bound their successors.

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There was one other point which I thought worth raising with the noble Baroness. We know the way in which the European Court works and leaps from point to point in a treaty and finds new ways to extend its influence. I suppose that one would broadly say that these provisions relate to what are generally referred to as human rights. I guess that most of us would take that view.

But then one looks back to page 10 of the Treaty of Amsterdam and finds Article E which tells us that Article F should be amended and should be replaced by the following:

    "The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms".

It then goes on, under Article F.1, to make the point that if a government are found to be in breach of any of those principles, certain of their rights can be suspended, including voting rights.

I give a warning. No one on the Europhile side of the Committee will take it at all seriously, but here we are again. We have extended it. There is the opening, the wedge in the door to combine this section, Article 13, with Article F.1 and Article E. Just wait. Just watch.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Before the Minister answers, to save her getting up and down like a jack-in-the-box, perhaps I may intervene. The amendment to which she referred concerning one parliament not being able to bind its successor was taken off the Marshalled List because it was to be debated late at night or early in the morning. I can assure the noble Baroness that it will be brought back under the first business at Report stage.

I also wish to ask whether she was confirming that any decisions under this article, once made by unanimity, will not need any further legislation in this Parliament. That was what I asked. I believe I was right in saying that no further legislation would be necessary, but perhaps the Minister could confirm it.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It would depend on what the decisions were. They might be decisions which needed legislation. It would depend on the nature of the decision reached by the Council. I thank the noble Lord for his warning about the reappearance of the amendment. I had thought--wildly--that perhaps the noble Lord had thought better of it. However, I thank him for giving us adequate warning on the matter.

In relation to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, he will not have to wait long for a discussion. We will either reach it later this evening or at some point in our debate tomorrow.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am grateful to all Members of the Committee who have spoken, especially those who supported these two amendments. Most of the debate took place on Amendment No. 13, which refers to the new Article 13 in the treaty.

Amendment No. 50 deals with Article 12 and its co-decision procedure. I am grateful for what the Minister said in that regard. It confirms the question of

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discrimination on grounds of nationality, whatever that may come to mean in the future. It will depend on a qualified majority vote in the Council supported only by the agreement of the European Parliament.

I was trying to look a little further into the future as to how the article might be used in view of the well-known action of the famous salami slicer of my noble friend Lord Tebbit, to which he has just referred again. I was grateful for the Minister's answer, in so far as it went, concerning the application of that principle to the common fisheries policy. I was trying to get at whether the article might not lead to the eventual disappearance of European nationalities under the Treaty of Rome. We did not quite conclude that, but I am happy to leave the fisheries aspect to quota hopping and related matters.

As to Amendment No. 13, I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Desai, and others that it would be nice if we could go anywhere in Europe and the world and find anti-discrimination legislation, arising from prejudice as my noble friend Lord Hamilton so rightly said, as good as it is here. Of course we cannot. There is the rest of the planet to consider. I accept that many Members of the Committee may feel that this is a first step in that direction. However, for me and perhaps many other noble Lords, that somewhat dizzy prospect is not outweighed by the fact that this is the European Union making another step forward--as my noble friend Lord Tebbit and others pointed out--into national sovereignty and that these anti-discrimination clauses are more properly the attribute of a state than a market.

Some of the questions asked concerned the difficulties of our obvious and proper tolerance, for instance, of the Moslem religion. But what do we do when we come up against some of its less acceptable attitudes towards women? The whole question of national sensitivities was not properly concluded in this debate. Also, the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, is absolutely right when he says that the issues of race, religion, disability or age are comparatively easy to deal with as set out in new Article 13, but other issues such as sexual orientation are much more difficult.

I asked what is the difference between religion and belief. I am sorry that the right reverend Prelate is no longer in his place; I thought that he might be able to help on that matter. What about belief? That is not an easy question. The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, made the point that people should be free to do what they want in matters of sexual activity and so forth, but so should their employers be free to employ them or otherwise.

There is no question of dividing the Committee on the amendment this evening. I am grateful to all those who have spoken and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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7.15 p.m.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 1, line 13, after ("2") insert (", other than paragraph 15 (Title IIIa of the Treaty establishing the European Community (visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to the free movement of persons)),").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 14, it may be convenient also for me to discuss Amendments Nos. 15 to 18, 45 and 51. This group of amendments deals with the freedom of movement of persons, border controls and the implications for Gibraltar. It covers immigration controls, asylum and other matters. It also incorporates the Schengen Agreement between certain countries in the European Community and is therefore subject to the acquis communautaire.

As the protocol states in its opening paragraph, the new Schengen acquis agreements are aimed at enhancing European integration. It means that the powers now given to the European Union cannot be reversed because the intergovernmental nature of the agreements no longer applies and all new applicants for membership will have to agree to the Schengen acquis before they will be allowed to join. Thus the control of borders, except for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, will come under the control of the institutions of the European Union, constituting yet another step towards the eventual creation of a single European state stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Russian border--yet another big step towards the creation of a country called Europe under the suzerainty of Germany. I am sorry to mention Germany again.

If anybody believes that my last statement is rather extreme, I recommend that they read the article by Graham Turner in the Daily Telegraph of Saturday, 28th March 1998. I shall not read it or quote it to the Committee because it is too long; I shall just read the title. It says, "Tomorrow belongs to Germany" by Graham Turner:

    "Chancellor Kohl and his allies have managed to create by the ruthless exercise of political will the empire that Hitler failed to fashion by military conquest".

That is not the Euro-realist Stoddart saying that; it is Graham Turner, a distinguished journalist of long standing.

What is more, life will be made more difficult for travellers and workers from eastern Europe. The Schengen acquis will simply be a further step towards the building of a fortress Europe. Those are basic reasons for not wishing to see the Schengen acquis incorporated into the European Community even though the United Kingdom, Eire and Denmark will not be part of it, at least in the early stages. As I said, Britain has an opt-out and will retain control of her borders. She will continue to have the right to refuse entry to any citizen of a third country and, presumably, of the European Union and European Economic Area citizens, though I am not sure how refusal of entry to the two latter categories will work. Perhaps my noble friend will explain that to me when replying to the debate.

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Britain and the other opted-out countries will have the right, at some future stage, to apply to join the Schengen acquis, though I hope I can be assured that the present Government will never make such an application. But any such application will have to have the unanimous consent of existing members--a condition smuggled in by Spain, no doubt with some ulterior motive concerning the future of Gibraltar. As we all know, the Spanish authorities make endless difficulties for Gibraltarians and others wishing to go to and from the Rock. They do so with a blatant disregard for the principle of free movement of people enshrined in the treaty of the European Union to which Spain is a party. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, will no doubt wish to elaborate on the position of Gibraltar when he speaks to Amendment No. 45, so I shall not say anything further about that aspect.

The claim is made for the Schengen aquis that it will make it easier to catch criminals, but I have to say that the reverse would seem to be the case. Surely the fewer the border checks, the easier it will be for criminals to extend their criminal activities and the more difficult it will be to catch them. That is the conclusion I would come to, but apparently some people believe the reverse. I should like to know the reason for that. The Italian Mafia have already made a killing out of fraud in the European Union and they must be licking their lips at the prospect of a Europe-wide bonanza for themselves and other criminals out of this arrangement and when the border controls are loosened further.

There are many questions arising from the Schengen aquis which need to be answered. For example, what will be the position regarding asylum? Will the United Kingdom be able to reject mass applications for asylum when people travel through the European Union from such places as Slovakia or Kurdistan, or anywhere else for that matter? Will this country be able to exercise its full authority to reject applicants for asylum under such circumstances without making special agreements with the various countries of the European Union, as has previously happened in relation to Albanians who came here through Italy? We had to make a special arrangement and agreement with Italy before we could return them to that country. Perhaps my noble friend would be kind enough to deal with that point when he speaks.

I come back to the issue of European Union citizens wishing to enter the United Kingdom. Will British immigration officials be able to examine the official identity documents of any entrant--his passport or any other document he may have such as an identity card? Will immigration officers be able to search his person? Will immigration officers be able to examine his belongings or detain him temporarily for further inquiries? Will they be able to detain him for longer periods if that is thought appropriate? I am talking here about citizens of the European Union.

This is undoubtedly an important issue. Although the United Kingdom will not be part of the aquis in its early stages, there are implications for this country, especially in the long-term and even more especially if we foolishly decided at some future date to accede to the Schengen aquis. On that point, I should like to ask my

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noble friend a final question. What would be the position of Parliament if the Government decided to opt into the Schengen aquis ? Would such a decision require parliamentary approval through primary, or even secondary, legislation, or does Parliament's ratification of the Amsterdam Treaty through this Bill give the Government full authority without further reference to or decision by Parliament? Would the Government be able to accede to the Schengen aquis provided all the other member states agreed to such accession, which of course is implicit in the Bill?

Those are very basic questions and I hope that my noble friend will be able to answer them this evening. If not, I should like him to study the matter and perhaps write to me as and when he can. I beg to move.

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