Andrew Rosindell – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Rosindell on 2016-02-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the statement in the letter by the President of European Council on his proposal for a new settlement for the UK within the EU that the UK is not committed to further political integration, what mechanisms are included in that proposed agreement to prevent the UK being so committed without its consent.

Mr David Lidington

The Decision of the Heads of State or Government, meeting within the European Council, concerning a new settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union, section C, paragraph 1, recognises that the United Kingdom is “not committed to further political integration into the European Union”. This will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision “so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom”.

In addition, the Decision states that “the references in the Treaties and their preambles to the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe do not offer a legal basis for extending the scope of any provision of the Treaties or of EU secondary legislation. They should not be used either to support an extensive interpretation of the competences of the Union or of the powers of its institutions as set out in the Treaties. . . The Treaties allow an evolution towards a deeper degree of integration among the Member States that share such a vision of their common future, without this applying to other Member States.”

More widely, the European Union Act 2011 ensures that if a change to the EU Treaties is proposed that would transfer a power from the UK to the EU, the consent of the British people in a referendum would be required before such a transfer could be agreed.