European Communities (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 20th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord McIntosh of Haringey Lord McIntosh of Haringey Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 5:30 pm, 20th November 2001

I apologise to the noble Lord; I misheard him. The article continues,

"shall adopt the list of the other persons whom it intends to appoint as Members of the Commission, drawn up in accordance with the proposals made by each Member State.

"The President and the other Members of the Commission thus nominated shall be subject as a body to a vote of approval by the European Parliament".

All that is as it was in Amsterdam. It then states:

"After approval by the European Parliament, the President and the other Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Council, acting by a qualified majority".

That is another of the new bits.

I do not have much more to say about qualified majority voting in these appointments. I believe that I have said it all. I think it is clear that we take the view that in these circumstances we support qualified majority voting for appointments because it will mean greater efficiency. As regards what is meant by efficiency, I think that it means less inefficiency. It means getting quicker decisions on the right person regardless of nationality.

We do not think that it would be right for one country to be able to block appointments, as has been possible in the past, or, worse, to hold policy decisions to ransom by insisting on its own candidate. I cannot promise the noble Lord, Lord Howell, that such a step will cut out all infighting; that is idealism. However, we want the best person for the job chosen on merit and experience not on nationality and we believe that this is the way to get it.