Passerelle Clauses

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 10th July 2006.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the use to date of passerelle clauses to incorporate EU legislation into UK law.

Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

A passerelle provision is one which allows for existing voting rules to be changed without treaty amendment. There are four passerelle provisions in the EU treaties. They are article 42 in the treaty on European Union (on police and judicial co-operation) and articles 67(2) (immigration and asylum), 137(2) (social policy matters) and 175(2) (environmental policy matters) in the European Community treaty. Only the passerelle provision in article 67(2) has been activated. The UK opted into Council Decision 2004/927 which changed certain areas in Title IV, European Community treaty, from unanimity to co-decision and Qualified Majority Voting. Any measure adopted in these areas only applies to the UK if the UK opts into it under its opt-in protocol, the protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the treaty of Amsterdam.

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