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Friday, 12 November 2010

EU Parliament sounds alarm over UK Sovereignty Bill

Andrew DUFF (UK, Lib Dem), spokesman for the European Liberal Democrats on constitutional affairs, has reacted to the publication by the UK government today of a draft law which would change the way the UK deals with the European Union.The new EU Bill contains a 'sovereignty clause' and would entrench the holding of referenda on EU treaty changes as well as the use of the passerelle clauses of the Treaty of Lisbon.DUFF, who represented the European Parliament at the Lisbon treaty negotiations, said:"The EU institutions and Britain's EU partners will have to examine this legislation very closely. I welcome the decision of the Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee this week to send a delegation to Westminster in January to meet with the government and both Houses of Parliament."We will be keen to reassure ourselves that this Bill does not substantively change the terms of the UK's membership of the EU and that, for example, the UK supreme court will not have powers dumped on it which properly reside with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg."The move to referenda seems to be calculated to appeal to a populist and nationalist constituency which undoubtedly exists in the UK. But referenda will surely weaken the powers of the Westminster Parliament over EU matters just when the Lisbon treaty provides new opportunities for national parliaments to engage constructively with the EU."The coalition government must respect the constitutional order of the European Union and should not impede the steady democratic evolution of the Treaty-based rules which bind all EU states together in a deep and lasting interdependence. If the UK were to sacrifice its credibility as a trustworthy partner it will relegate itself to some uninfluential off-shore destination."

Source: ALDE