Treaty of Lisbon (No. 5) — [5th allotted day]

Part of Business of the House (Lisbon Treaty) (No. 4) – in the House of Commons at 1:28 pm on 20th February 2008.

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Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Foreign Secretary 1:28 pm, 20th February 2008

My right hon. Friend is entirely right. Let me proceed with the details to show exactly why that is.

The treaty does not, repeat not, change the fundamental nature of common foreign and security policy co-operation. That continues to be covered in a separate treaty, subject—as is stated in the treaty for the first time—to "specific rules and procedures". The treaty includes an article—again, it appears for the first time—underlining those distinct arrangements: unanimity as the general rule so a veto for all countries, no legislative acts, and a limited role for Community institutions.

The Foreign Affairs Committee, whose Chairman, my hon. Friend Mike Gapes, is present, has welcomed the fact that it is

"highly likely that, under the Lisbon Treaty, the Common Foreign and Security Policy will remain an intergovernmental area, driven by the Member States."

He is right about that. The European Scrutiny Committee—its Chairman, my hon. Friend Michael Connarty, is not present at the moment—has said that

"the largely intergovernmental nature of the CFSP and ESDP will be maintained, with no significant departures from the arrangements which currently apply".

What the treaty will do is enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and coherence of the current arrangements.