Clause 3 — Changes of terminology
Orders of the Day
David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells, Conservative)
I beg to move amendment No. 39, page 2, leave out lines 12 and 13 and insert—
'(c) may be made only if a draft of the order has been—
(i) laid before Parliament; and
(ii) approved by a resolution of each House'.
Clause 3 is, if one includes the schedule attached to it, the longest part of the Bill. Together they run to some three and a half pages. On that ground alone, it is worth studying in some detail.
The clause is headed "Changes of terminology", which rather implies that these are technical matters, but I shall, I hope, show that it deals with substantive matters of importance. For instance, the schedule attached to the clause makes nearly 50 amendments to the European Communities Act 1972, the founding Act that has governed our relationship to the European Union ever since that date. Clearly, those are matters of substance.
One of the purposes of clause 3 and its schedule is to delete references to "European Community" and replace them with "European Union". That is not a technical change; it is a matter of substance, because the two are not the same. To remind the Committee, when we joined the Common Market, as it was then called, there were three treaties: the European Coal and Steel Community treaty signed in 1951; the European Atomic Energy Community treaty, usually known as EURATOM; and the European Economic Community treaty, usually abbreviated to the EEC, set up by the treaty of Rome in 1957. Collectively, those treaties formed what were known as the European Communities.
Since that time, the coal and steel treaty has expired and is no more. EURATOM still exists but is only of marginal significance—that is not to say that the European Union will not legislate on energy and atomic power; under the additional sections in the treaty of Lisbon, I anticipate that it will pass a great deal more legislation on that, but not through EURATOM. For the purposes of this debate, therefore, we can ignore that treaty.
A separate treaty on the EU, the Maastricht treaty, renamed the EEC the EC, and crucially, added two intergovernmental pillars, the first dealing with common foreign and security policy, and the second with justice and home affairs. That was a critical and innovative solution, and in my view and that of many of my persuasion, the intergovernmental method of co-operation is to be preferred. It cuts out the monopoly of initiative enjoyed by the European Commission, and does not come under the jurisdiction of the European Court. But it allows for extensive international co-ordination and co-operation in tackling matters of common interest.
Today, essentially, we have two treaties. We have the EC treaty, derived originally from the treaty of Rome, as then amended by the Single European Act, the Amsterdam treaty, the Nice treaty and so on. Separately, we have the EU treaty from Maastricht, covering the intergovernmental areas.
The current treaty abolishes the EC. Article 1 of the treaty states:
"The Union shall replace and succeed the European Community."
Crucially, however, the EU will also include those previous intergovernmental policy areas that I have described, such as the common foreign and security policy and parts of criminal justice and policing.