22 July 1997
By the Select Committee appointed
to consider Community proposals, whether in draft or otherwise,
to obtain all necessary information about them, and to make reports
on those which, in the opinion of the Committee, raise important
questions of policy or principle, and on other questions to which
the Committee consider that the special attention of the House
should be drawn.
THE AMSTERDAM TREATY
1. At the European Council
meeting in Amsterdam on 16-17 June 1997, the leaders of the 15
EU Member States reached agreement in principle on the text of
a new Treaty. This text was released by the Presidency on 19 June
It is expected that the new Treaty will be signed in Amsterdam
in October 1997 after further work has been done on the text and
translations. The new Treaty is the outcome of over a year's
work by the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) which began at
Turin in March 1996.
2. Before the IGC opened,
this Committee produced a report
which examined some key issues. Our approach in 1995 was summarised
in paragraph 9 of our report:
"The Committee's enquiry
has concentrated on two main issues. The first, and the largest,
is the question of the Institutions and the decision-making process
in an expanding European Union. The subjects considered under
this broad heading included qualified majority voting in the Council,
the co-decision procedure between the Council and the European
Parliament, the size and composition of the Commission and the
role of the Court of Justice. As well as examining the roles of
the Institutions, we have also considered the related questions
of the role of national parliaments, the simplification of legislative
acts and delegated legislation. The second main issue which we
have considered is the functioning of the "pillars",
including the question of defence."
3. The purpose of this
present report is to compare our main conclusions in 1995 with
the outcome of the IGC as reflected in the Treaty. We would wish
to emphasise that this report is not a full summary of the Treaty.
Appendix 2 to this Report contains a side-by-side presentation
of the main conclusions of the 1995 report with the Treaty text.
4. The Committee has
not, at this stage, come to any conclusions about the outcome
of the IGC, although we look forward to discussing this matter
with Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministers in the autumn.
We hope, however, that this report may be found useful, particularly
in advance of the debate in this House on 28 July.
5. This report is made
to the House for information.
1 Document CONF/4001/97 Back
2 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference, 21st Report, Session 1994-95, HL Paper 105. Back