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The noble Lord, Lord Howell, was worried about the parliamentary scrutiny in another place. We gave 11 full days in Committee in the Commons. Noble Lords might not have liked the fact that we discussed issues of justice and home affairs, energy, human rights, the single market, foreign policy and defence, but these are substantive and very important parts of what we are seeking to achieve and why Europe and this treaty are so important. There were 45 Divisions, with healthy majorities on each. The majority in favour of the Bill on Third Reading was 140. There were 315 amendments, of which 279 were Conservative amendments—Mr Cash had 154 of them. There were 20 Labour amendments, 14 Liberal Democrat and two SNP. There will now, quite rightly, be proper, detailed scrutiny in your Lordships’ House. We will no doubt deliberate the Bill properly and appropriately, as your Lordships would wish to do.

The noble Lord, Lord Lawson, asked about the competencies. It is very important that the treaty sets out for the first time what the competencies are. Articles 2, 3 and 4 talk about what is exclusive, what is shared and where the role of the European Union is to support and co-ordinate member states. This is the first time that that appears and I think it is important.

The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, to whom I pay tribute for his work on the Delegated Powers Committee and with Justice, described admirably what we call pillar collapse. I am grateful to him. I shall not comment further because he did it so well.

I wanted to clarify to the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, about the opt-in. The current system, which is replicated but extended in terms of what we can do, says that opt-in is available at the beginning and the end of the process. I know that because there were a number of civil justice issues where I did not opt in at the beginning, but we participated throughout. The working groups got our views across and we ended up in one particular case with a position where we felt so comfortable with what we had achieved that we were able to opt in. That is an important element of this. It is not a question of not being able to opt in at the beginning; therefore you cannot opt in at all.

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Paragraph 5 of Article 63A, which the noble Baroness quoted, states that individual states control the admission to their country, not the European Union. I hope that the noble Baroness would welcome that. She also asked me about control over our borders. The existing frontiers protocol, which makes it clear that the UK has the right to maintain its own border controls, is indeed carried over to the Lisbon treaty. She asked about Frontex. It is a Schengen-building measure. Only the countries who participate in Schengen and in the acquis can be part of Frontex. However, the UK has chosen not to participate in the underlying Schengen acquis. That is why we are not participating at this point in Schengen.

The noble Lord, Lord Waddington, asked when the opt-outs were negotiated. The four red lines were agreed in principle at the June 2007 European Council meeting where all 27 member states agreed a mandate, and the detail was agreed later at the intergovernmental conference and concluded in December 2007.

The noble Lord, Lord Blackwell, asked about fines; that word is not used anywhere in the treaty. Where the UK decides that it will not participate and where that non-participation—and this is important—renders the measure inoperable, the European Union can decide that it does not want the UK to be involved because it does not work. Where it does not work and therefore everything has to be redone, there is a provision that says that we will pay the consequential costs. That is a reasonable measure to have in place bearing in mind what we would be asking them to do, which is to move out of something, make it inoperable and for them to have to put it together again.

I want to talk about the common foreign and security policy briefly. I begin with the EU Committee report which says:

My noble friend Lady Symons and the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, pointed to the importance of the high representative who will be selected by the Council and answerable to member states. The noble Lord, Lord Astor, was worried about that. It is an important role in our view, but there is a clear responsibility as well.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon, and my noble friend Lady Symons said that British foreign policy is not diminished. I completely agree. This is not about the EU getting a seat at the Security Council and we will certainly not give up ours, whatever the French decide to do.

The noble Lords, Lord Hannay and Lord Roper, referred to the External Action Service formed from the relevant Council secretariat and the Commission services with secondees, we trust, from national diplomatic services. It does not replace the Diplomatic Service of the UK. It will co-operate but not replace. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Roper, that there are 133, I am told, not 128 Commission delegations covering all the countries where the UK has important relationships, not least in providing support on development. The noble Lord, Lord Plumb, spoke very movingly about what he saw in war-torn countries such as Rwanda. Like him, I am proud when I see on my television screen—as opposed to what the noble Lord saw in person—EU tents.

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The noble Lord, Lord Astor of Hever, was worried about the role of NATO. As the treaty says, NATO,

that refers to member states. It retains the current language and the character of security and defence policy. The Lisbon treaty is supported by the United States of America and other NATO members, as I indicated in my opening remarks.

The noble Lord, Lord Owen, was particularly concerned about whether the President of the European Council could be the high representative, so let me be clear. The treaty of Lisbon creates a full-time President for two and a half years as opposed to a rotating President every six months. Those of us who have been involved in the presidency—noble Lords who have been there themselves will remember—know that just as one gets into chairing the committee it is gone and you have to move on. There is logic in 27 countries having this appointment for a longer term, but working for and at the behest of the member states. The treaty says that the postholder could not be President of the European Commission. The Lisbon treaty makes it clear that members of the Commission may not, during their term of office, engage in any other occupation and shall neither seek nor take instructions from any Government or from any other bodies. Of course the high representative is a vice-chair of the Commission, so they will be covered by the same thing. I hope that allays the noble Lord’s concern.

The noble Lord was concerned, too, about the role of the European Court of Justice asserting jurisdiction over the common foreign and security policy. Now, the Lisbon treaty contains, for the first time, explicit exclusion of the Court’s jurisdiction over the foreign and security policy. That is important.

I say to the noble Lords, Lord Howell and Lord Waddington, that the European Court of Justice is an important aspect of the European Union. The European Union is a rules-based organisation, which is what makes it successful. Without an effective European Court you cannot enforce the rules. It is in our interests. As my noble friend Lord Kinnock said, its role is to ensure that in the interpretation and application of EU treaties European law is observed. Member states make the rules through the treaties, not through the European Court of Justice. There are lots of examples where the European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of the UK.

Passerelle clauses have been described as ratchet clauses. Passerelle does not mean ratchet; it means footbridge. As the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, will know, passerelles are not new; the concept was first introduced by the Single European Act when he was a Cabinet Minister, and the new provisions have been introduced in every amending treaty. But for the first time since the passerelles allowed moves to qualified majority voting, which was introduced in 1986, Parliament will have the final say over their use. I hope the noble Lord will welcome that. As the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, said, qualified majority voting can be a positive force. As my noble friend Lord Radice said, if you are ever going to change the common agricultural policy, the route may well be

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through qualified majority voting. I say to my noble friend Lady Turner that I hope she will be able to look at what has been said by my noble friend Lord Kinnock and others and find that her issues have been addressed appropriately.

I go back to the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher, and her speech in 1993. We would never have got the single market without an extension of majority voting. We wanted a single market and we had to have some majority voting. That is right. But my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has made perfectly clear his commitment:

I cannot be clearer than that. The noble Lord, Lord Owen, was worried about whether we should have an Act of Parliament for these. I think that a resolution in both Houses is the way to go forward.

My noble friend Lady Turner worried about what happened in terms of UK citizens and rights. There is no question of fewer rights. All the social and labour provisions are either existing rights in United Kingdom law or are guiding principles. We are bound by the same rules on working conditions as other European Union states. There is no effect on the current rights of children in the Bill. My noble friend was worried about migrant children.

As for new powers for Parliament, the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, talked about the importance of national parliaments having a direct say in making European laws. Although the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, was not enthusiastic about yellow and orange cards, I think they are very important. My noble friend Lord Haskel welcomed them.

The real issue is what we do together as part of the European Union. The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, and the noble Lord, Lord Jay, talked about the spread of human rights and democracy. My noble friend Lady Quin talked about the relevance and importance for new member states; the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, about justice and home affairs; my noble friend Lord Harrison about mental health and the benefits to Liverpool, for example, as the City of Culture this year; the noble Lord, Lord Maclennan, about climate change and trade; the noble Lord, Lord Plumb, about environmental protection; and my noble friend Lord Sewel about agriculture. The noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said that if we act alone we cannot solve our problems. I agree, and I agree with my noble friend Lord Kinnock that the Bill will strengthen democracy, and I agree on the importance of competition in so doing.

The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, made a very important speech about development. It is not about downgrading through the high representative the role of international

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development. It will be his responsibility to ensure that there is coherence of action. It makes clear through the Lisbon treaty that, for the first time, the primary objective of development is poverty reduction. I will respond in more detail to the noble Earl but I can say that I know he is worried about EuropeAid. There have not been further discussions about it yet. Of course, trade and the links that the noble Earl referred to are important as well. The CBI has said how important it believes this is, but, more importantly, that we need to get on with the differences that will be made. I agree with those noble Lords, including my noble friend Lady Quin, on the need to think about information.

Somebody said:

That was the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York, who sadly is not in his place this evening. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon, said that democracy requires leadership. We have to lead on this: we have to lead as a Parliament and as a Government. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Garel-Jones, that we should do the right thing, which is to ratify the treaty in the right way—that is by Parliament—and for the right reasons. That is because it matters to the citizens of this country that we do so, in order that they have their opportunities enhanced. I hope that the House will agree to give the Bill a second reading.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

EU: Lisbon Treaty (EUC Report)

12.21 am

Lord Grenfell: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That this House takes note of the report of the European Union Committee on The Treaty of Lisbon:An Impact Assessment (10th Report, HL Paper 62).—(Lord Grenfell.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Housing and Regeneration Bill

Brought from the Commons; read a first time, and ordered to be printed.


Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I take this opportunity on behalf of the whole House to thank the staff for facilitating our long day and taking care of us. I am especially grateful to the staff of Hansard, who will have to work for two hours after we leave this place this evening.

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