Results 121–140 of 290 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Lord Blackwell

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I just wanted to raise a broader point that the noble Lord has just covered. If the noble Lord is saying that it is extremely unlikely that the United Kingdom would want to join in the common defence policy and the Minister is assuring us there is a double lock to prevent that, is the Minister effectively saying that the Government would be happy to accept Amendment No. 20, which removes this...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I intervene in this debate with trepidation, given the expertise in this Chamber. But I find myself searching to understand what these words in the treaty, like so much else in it, mean. The trouble is that we seem now to have a common pattern where we are told that the words should not be taken to mean what they say, because somewhere else in the treaty there is a declaration or protocol...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I defer to the noble Lord's greater knowledge on this but many instances have come to my attention where the French, in particular, are quoted as taking an antagonistic view towards the United States and their role in NATO, and to NATO more generally. The point remains: are these words meant to mean that we end up with a common defence force or are they not? If they are, that is quite...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I must correct the noble Lord; I had nothing to do with the drafting of the Maastricht treaty. But he is correct in saying that the wording continually moves. That is the point I was trying to make. We need to know whether we are supposed to take this wording seriously or whether we can disregard it because it does not mean what it says or the Government will veto it.

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: The noble Lord, Lord Owen, asked about unanimity on the External Action Service. The response was that that required unanimity. The reason I believe there may be some uncertainty about that is that the treaty says that the Council will act on a recommendation from the high representative in establishing an External Action Service. As the noble Baroness has said, elsewhere in the treaty it...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: This is an important point. It is important that we are clear on it. As my noble friend was saying, the difference here is that where, on a particular policy, which may be covered by a particular treaty, a Government may change their mind and take the consequences, in this case, the only way you can change your policy position is by repudiating the whole of the European treaty. There is no...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: We are not talking about past policies of the European Union. We are talking about how the policies of the European Union will be set under this treaty. When the common foreign policy becomes a single foreign policy the degree of discretion that individual members have will be constrained by that common policy, which, I believe, is exactly what this treaty brings to the European scene. As the...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I am very grateful to the noble Baroness. The wording of these sentences, as she well knows, was very well fought, word by word, and it is very—

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: It is very clear why that was done because it allowed both sides to interpret the sentences as they wanted. It depends where in the sentence you put the emphasis. Where the EU has a position, the UK will be required to suggest that the high representative present that position. I accept that the UK retains its seat, its role, its right to speak and its individual vote. I said all those things...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: This sentence was, as the noble Baroness said, long fought over, and she fought very strongly for it. The words "changes nothing" are followed by a specific list of things which do not change. What the sentence does not say is what does change, which is the influence and effect of the United Kingdom's position in the United Nations as a result of this treaty.

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I would like to add my support to the amendments in the name of my noble friend Lord Howell and to explain the thinking behind Amendments Nos. 111 and 113, which are in my name. As we have heard, these amendments drive to the heart of the contradiction between, on the one hand, saying that we want to be part of an increasingly common European policy and, on the other, declaring that we have...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: Indeed, and so the question comes down to how much of our policy we choose and how much we allow to be moved into a common position. Whether it is a single or common foreign policy in that position, as I will go on to describe, we no longer have a level of freedom and independence. The other questions are how that position is determined and how it evolves over time. The Government would like...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (6 May 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I shall address Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 because they both reflect a shift—which one may or may not like, but which cannot be disguised in the treaty—towards a European Union that is increasingly establishing itself as an independent sovereign body rather than an association of member states. Amendment No. 11 refers to a reduction in the number of commissioners so that there is no longer...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: We really cannot have a sensible debate on the treaty if we take the view that any amendment that attempts to probe the meaning of particular phrases is out of order because we have to accept it all en bloc or not. Whatever the intention of any of the amendments may be, we should take the purpose of this debate as being to explore the meaning and impact of the treaty and whether it is...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I am very grateful to the noble Baroness. That would be very helpful.

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: According to the passage that the Minister read out, the high commissioner for foreign affairs is, as I understand it, a member of the Commission, but is also double-hatting as the high representative. How is that different from the president of the Commission also being the president of the Council? Why does it work for one but not for the other?

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I support these important amendments. As a member of your Lordships' Select Committee on the European Union I was fortunate enough to discuss some of these issues when we visited Brussels. As other noble Lords said, it is clear that there is huge uncertainty and work still to be done on turning some of the institutional arrangements that are described in this treaty in very outline form into...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: The noble Lord's intervention illustrates exactly the danger of not having it settled. The relationship between the President of France and the Prime Minister of France does not depend on which individual is elected to which office. Those offices are settled. If we have a Europe where the individuals who take those places can land-grab and turn the European Union constitution to their...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: Perhaps I may clarify what the noble Baroness the Lord President is saying. My Amendment No. 125 refers solely to the new powers created by the treaty of Lisbon. If she is not prepared to accept it, is she saying that we are giving the European Union the power to decide whether laws and actions of the UK Government are compatible with the new objectives that are built into the treaty by the...

European Union (Amendment) Bill (22 Apr 2008)

Lord Blackwell: I support my noble friend's amendment and speak to Amendment No. 125 in my name, which is in the same group. Like other noble Lords, I should very much like to get down to the substance of these treaties but it is difficult when the Government continue to deny in effect the substance of what we are supposed to be debating—the consolidated text, or the end result of it. This is not a...


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