European Communities (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 20th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord Pearson of Rannoch Lord Pearson of Rannoch Conservative 6:15 pm, 20th November 2001

I do not know whether it is in order in these Committee proceedings to make a prophecy rather than to ask a question. My prophecy is that the Committee of the Regions, and the regions concerned, will eventually come forward, in a future amendment to the Treaty of Rome, as elected bodies that report directly to Brussels, and to a degree that is not yet clear to me, they will replace the parliaments of national governments. There is evidence for my remarks, not because of the inevitable drift of Euro-creep, to which I referred before, but Article 263 lays the ground for the change that I forecast. It refers to,

"representatives of regional and local bodies, who either hold a regional or local authority electoral mandate or are politically accountable to an elected assembly".

Those are the new words. One has seen so much of this over the years—from Maastricht, through Amsterdam to Nice. Unfortunately I was not involved in these matters during the passage of the Single European Act, but that is the drift of what the Committee of the Regions and regional assemblies are expected to be.