§ 3.5 p.m.
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
My Lords, 1 beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Baroness Chalker of Wallasey.)
On Question, Motion agreed to.
House in Committee accordingly.
[The CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES in the Chair.]
Clause I [Treaty on European Union]:
[Amendment No. 1 not moved.]
Lord Jay moved Amendment No. 2:
Page 1, line 9, after ("(k)") insert ("The Preamble (except the words "RESOLVED to establish a citizenship common to nationals of their countries")").
§ The noble Lord said: In speaking to this amendment I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 8, 10, 53 to 60 and 396A.
These amendments concern the crucial question of citizenship of the Union which is to be imposed upon every British citizen whether he or she likes it or not. It is perhaps worth considering the words by which that citizenship is established. Part 2, Article 8 of the treaty states:
Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union… Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall he subject to the duties imposed thereby".
§ The first point that I should like to make on citizenship is that the establishment of citizenship implies the establishment of a state rather than an institution which is only half a state. I believe that I am right to say—and this would appeal to the reasonable man—that you cannot be a citizen of anything other than a state. You can be a member of the BBC, the Tory Party, a quango or Lloyd's of London, but you cannot be a citizen of any of those and many other organisations. Therefore, whether you like it or not, it is of some importance that we are establishing a new state and the plain intention of the treaty is to achieve by the next step, as some of us have argued already, a European superstate.
§ The next point that I should like to make on this issue is that it will be noticed from what I have read that the treaty confers on every citizen not only rights of citizenship but also duties. Many people have the impression that the treaty confers only rights, and they naturally believe that there can be nothing wrong with that. Surely it is quite a different issue when duties which people at present do not know the nature of and about which they have not been asked are imposed upon them in that way by law.
On Second Reading some of us asked the Government whether they would specify what are those duties. I think that Parliament should at least be
informed as to the nature of the duties that are being conferred on every British citizen. When one looks at the treaty to seek guidance, it is rather remarkable to note that Article 8A says:
Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely",
and so on. Article 8 also recites rights which are conferred, as do the two following articles.
§ Therefore, the treaty first says that rights and duties will be imposed on us, and it then tells us at some considerable length what are those rights; but nowhere, so far as I have been able to discover, does it tell us what are the duties thereby imposed. It is possible that they are specified in some other title, article, chapter, annex, protocol or even declaration of the treaty. However, if that is so, many of us would be glad if the Government told us exactly where they are specified.
§ It has been a remarkable feature of the whole of the controversy, right back to the time of the European Communities Act 1972, that when we are passing such Acts we are told that there really is not very much in them and that it will all turn out all right. In the case of the 1972 Act, we were told that we could all rest on the Luxembourg compromise and that there were no objectionable features. But, as the years move on, we are told, "You signed the treaty and passed the Act, so now you are bound by those legal restrictions". Indeed, with the second Act—namely, the Single European Act—we were all advised that it was nothing but a means for a wider economic trading market in Western Europe and that there was very little in the way of legal restrictions involved. But as soon as it was passed, it emerged that that Act, coupled with the original European Communities Act, meant that the British Government were involved in all sorts of obligations.
§ There was a time earlier this year when some Members of this Chamber, including, at one time, the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, rather implied that there was really very little in the Bill or the treaty which we did not accept at the time of the Single European Act. But, if that is so and it does not add anything, it seems rather extraordinary that it is necessary to have the vast operation of the Bill and of the treaty. However, the fact is that it is adding a great deal. One of the additions is the imposition of the duties of citizenship which, so far, have not been specified.
§ It would have been a very much better arrangement if we could have allowed a free choice to the British citizen as to whether or not he accepted those additional rights and duties combined. There are many people in the country who would gladly have done so, whereas others would have preferred not to do so. Faced as we are with the Government who are enthusiastic about the choice of the citizen and who are always telling us that we should give more choice to the individual, I should have thought that that was a powerful argument.
§ Some of us would have preferred to table an amendment at this stage granting the individual British subject the opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" to the acceptance of those additional rights and duties. 236 However, I understand that that would be out of order under the provisions of the Bill. The Government would no doubt argue that it is impossible because we cannot insert into the treaty anything which is not already there. Nevertheless, that does not prevent us from arguing that it ought to have been done. It seems to me that there is a strong case for giving a free citizen's choice on such a crucial issue.
§ The Government are keen on schools opting out of local authority control, hospitals opting out of full membership of the health service and ordinary individuals opting out, for example, of the state earnings related pension; and, indeed, on the whole concept of the Citizen's Charter which is designed to give greater choice to the citizen. I should have preferred that such a choice could have been given so that those who wish to remain citizens would be able to do so, and those who did not would be able to opt in the other direction. I hope that that will be one of the themes that we shall discuss in this afternoon's debate. I beg to move.
§ 3.15 p.m.
§ Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone
Before he spoke, I had no idea what the noble Lord. Lord Jay, would say in support of this rather peculiar amendment. I am just wondering whether he remembers 1948, when Mr. Attlee's Government (of which the noble Lord was a noble and distinguished supporter) passed the British Nationality Act? Am I right in thinking—perhaps my noble and learned friend on the Front Bench will confirm—that that provided a Commonwealth citizenship? No one pretended that that created a state called "the Commonwealth"; indeed, no one has ever thought so since that time.
As for the alleged duties upon which the second half of the noble Lord's argument was based, surely the fact is that they are reciprocal to the rights. A citizen of the Community is entitled to certain rights—for example, rights of establishment or rights of passage of the frontiers without a pièce d'identité of any size, except simply to establish his identity.
As I said, the rights are reciprocal. If you have a right to set up business in this country you have to perform the same duties as a British subject. I do not see what else is left of the noble Lord's argument; indeed, it has gone to nothing. I just wonder whether my noble and learned friend on the Front Bench, with his far greater knowledge in such matters, will confirm what I said.
§ The Earl of Onslow
I seem to remember my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham arguing with the "patrialic" clauses of the Immigration Act 1971 when I was a small fledging Member of this Chamber to try to get out of the pickle in which the Immigration Act 1948 had landed us. I must admit that his legal skills have not forsaken him.
I also seem to remember that there is a case in British history when Palmerston went to the other place and said, civic Britannicus sum. Some appalling individual had been arrested by the Greek authorities for some thievery and knavery. His name, as my noble 237 and learned friend did not need to remind me, was Don Pacifico. The other place went into a great roar of British imperial grandeur. I believe I am right in saying—although I cannot remember the name of the Roman governor involved—that when St. Paul was arrested he pleaded, civis Romanus sum.
There is something special about citizenship. I do not want to be a citizen of Tuscany, Burgundy, the Brabant or anywhere else; I only want to be a subject of Her Majesty. Indeed, I am only a subject of Her Majesty and that is how it should be. I do not want imposed upon me any more rights or duties. When my noble friend on the Front Bench in the previous debates said that the duties were basically a load of rubbish—I believe that that was what she said, although I may be paraphrasing somewhat; but that was the essence of what she said—I tried to move an amendment to this treaty which sought to remove the word "duties" arid insert the phrase "hey diddle diddle" because my noble friend had said that "duties" were the equivalent of "hey diddle diddle". People do not want this concept of citizenship. They do not want to be citizens of anything other than the United Kingdom. They do not want the duties that I have mentioned, which are non-existent, and they do not want the rights either because they are inchoate.
This measure is a mistake, but I fear that it will probably be driven through by the remorseless urge of the Foreign Office and the beautifully argued briefs of my noble friend on the Front Bench. My noble friend is making a grave error if she fails to understand that ordinary people do not want the citizenship we are discussing. My noble friend Lord Middleton snorts when I refer to ordinary people. It may be possible that he knows more about ordinary people than I. That may be possible but it is unlikely. I believe that people do not want to be citizens of anything other than the United Kingdom. They want to be loyal subjects of the Crown.
§ Baroness Elles
I am sorry to hear that my noble friend Lord Onslow does not want to be a European citizen. Over the past 20 years we have been given reciprocal rights of citizenship within the European Community in many ways. Members of the Committee will remember that at one time when someone crossed the Channel he had to fill in an immigration card. We no longer have to do that because the right of sovereignty has been ceded through our boundaries being open to all Community nationals. There is no longer exchange control at the frontiers and we do not have to show our passports at the frontiers, except at Dover. When 300 or 400 people emerge from a jumbo jet at Heathrow they no longer have to pass through the immigration control. There are special blue channels for EC nationals. If my noble friend Lord Onslow wishes to queue behind 400 people, he is welcome to do so. However, as EC nationals, we have the right to go through the blue channel I have mentioned.
A similar procedure applies to voting rights. As my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham pointed out, the British Nationality Act 1948 not only bestowed British Commonwealth citizenship on 600 million people; but it also gave them the right to vote in 238 British general elections provided that they were here on the qualifying date as residents. It did not matter whether they could speak English, or whether they had been in the country for only two minutes, or what nationality they held. Article 8b of the treaty gives reciprocal voting rights only with regard to municipal elections and not at general elections. In this case the rights are less than those that were bestowed by the Labour Government in 1948.
There are 180 countries of the United Nations. We cannot have diplomatic and consular offices in all those countries. It must surely be beneficial for British subjects who have a problem to be able to consuf: the diplomatic or consular services of countries which work with us on a reciprocal basis. I totally reject the amendment.
§ Lord Jenkins of Putney
I cannot say that I share the enthusiasm of the noble Lord opposite for being a subject of Her Majesty. I do not object to that fact as I have become used to it. One takes it for granted. However, it is a little odd in this day and age that one declares oneself to be a subject. However. I must. confess that I have even less enthusiasm for becoming a citizen of the Common Market.
Some Members of the Committee may have forgotten that at the beginning we were assured with absolute good faith that this was just a common market. I remember going to Luxembourg with a group of parliamentary candidates back in the 1950s with the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. We went to study the European Coal and Steel Community. which was a precursor of the European Common Market. I was rather horrified with that development. The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, on the other hand was extremely enthusiastic. Our different positions have remained fixed ever since. I remain horrified with the development and she remains enthusiastic.
Why does this difference of attitude occur? Is it somehow wrong that we should seek to be citizens of a common market? I think it is. I am not a great nationalist but I believe that the truth of the matter is that nationalism is a strong force in the world of today. If one tries to destroy it, one will create something which perhaps one cannot handle. Something of that kind has been happening in Bosnia where nationalism has reasserted itself over an imposed federation. We are asked to accept by the back door—and this is what the amendment seeks to get rid of—that we shall all become citizens of a wider Europe. I feel no kind of loyalty to the European Common Market either in its present form, still less in the federal form which many Members of the Committee nowadays openly say is their objective. That is what they want. I do not want it. I do not know whether the Committee looks forward to being part of a federation of Europe and having Parliament itself reduced to the level of a minor county.
Perhaps we will take our courage in our hands and put this issue to the people. A later amendment seeks to give the people the opportunity to say whether they want to become citizens of Europe. 1 am no great friend of referendums as such, but I believe that a constitutional issue is the only occasion on which it is 239 reasonable to ask the people as a whole to make a decision. When we are discussing an issue of constitutional change, there is a case for a referendum. However, 1 must not stray on to that matter at the moment.
I shall try to confine my remarks to the amendment which is solely concerned with the question of whether we should or should not become citizens of the European Community, or Common Market, or whatever one wishes to call this thing we have created. I personally take the view that there is a great difference between a state and a nation. I think it reasonable that states can get together and assume a common nationality, as in the case of the United States. However, in the latter case that was achieved with great difficulty and, incidentally, after a civil war had occurred. America has succeeded in creating a genuine United States of America.
However, to suggest that it is possible to create a federation composed of a group of nations that have such varied histories is a different kettle of fish altogether. As a socialist I wish we had a world loyalty. However, if I ever had a loyalty it was to the Commonwealth and to EFTA. That seemed to me an ideal set-up at the time. It is a pity that we lost it in favour of the rather harsh proposition which we are required to assent to today. The Commonwealth and EFTA together have the advantage of being multiracial. The Commonwealth particularly is a multiracial organisation. It does not consist of nations trying to compete against each other. The Commonwealth consists of first, second and third grade countries which would have combined together better than the federation to which we are asked to give our signature.
I believe I have made it clear that if my noble friend should decide to pursue his amendment to a Division, I shall find myself in the Lobby by his side. I believe that I should be right to do so. I also believe that a number of Members of the Committee will take the same view on the issue. We may not have other views in common, but we are not ready to become citizens of a European superstate. That is what we are asked to accept. This is the beginning of it. I believe that my noble friend Lord Jay is right to try to get that element out of the Bill this afternoon.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Lord Rippon of Hexham
Whatever Nero did, he did not take two years about it.
I did not speak in the Second Reading debate. I have spoken often enough over the years about our membership of the European Community. I believe that in this case the amendment is without merit. It was clear from the Second Reading debate that there is a great deal of confusion as to what is meant by federation. I accept the concept of European union as set out in the Solemn Declaration on European Union 240 signed in Stuttgart on 19th June 1983 by my noble friend Lady Thatcher and in the Single European Act. I accept the views which were expressed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilberforce, on the different meanings of European union. I do not believe that we need to have a sterile debate about that.
Right from the outset my noble friend Lord Onslow misconstrued the difference between a subject and a citizen. I have always thought that the position was very well put by the noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, when he said that he was a Scot by nationality, a British subject and a European citizen by conviction. We should not allow ourselves to become muddled.
We ought to accept that within Europe there is total misunderstanding and utter dismay at the way in which the British Parliament is behaving. While there are high unemployment, social unrest and all the other problems that we ought to be discussing, it is unbelievable that we should spend so much time on this matter. We can accept the treaty or we can reject it. We cannot amend it. Let us get on with the action as fast as we can.
§ Lord Tebbit
Perhaps I may counsel the Committee in considering this amendment, and many others, to read and reread the Second Reading speech of my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor. Within that speech there is a great deal of wisdom, for my noble and learned friend set out the dictum that there is nothing new in this treaty of union which was not foreshadowed in the Treaty of Rome, and therefore this treaty of union is not a constitutional treaty. He implied that all the constitutional issues had been dealt with in 1972 in the treaty of accession and therefore endorsed in the 1975 referendum.
I put it to the Committee that there is no mention in the 1972 treaty of accession of the concept of citizenship of the union. We should be very careful about the way in which it is now proposed to amend the Treaty of Rome, for most of the treaty of union concerns amendment of the Treaty of Rome. Let me say in parenthesis that as one reads the Treaty of Maastricht (the union treaty) one sees that most references to this treaty are not references to Maastricht but to the Treaty of Rome. In this particular case, in the matters relating to citizenship we see a new peg being inserted into the Treaty of Rome. It is a peg called citizenship.
As one of those who campaigned for our membership of the European Community I do not recollect that I was campaigning to become a citizen of the union. I do not believe that that proposition was ever debated in those days. Therefore, I differ from my noble friend Lord Rippon, who believes that it should be brushed aside as if of no matter: it is only a matter of citizenship; it is a triviality and we should not detain ourselves with such minor matters. These are the pegs which are being put into the treaty, and this is one of the most important pegs.
At present only the prospect of rights hangs upon that peg: the right to be in a shorter queue at the immigration desk. There are rights which seem to me to be more important than the right to be in a shorter queue at the immigration desk. Are those the rights for 241 which we are being asked to sell so much that we own at present—a right to vote in a European election in Portugal if we happen to be resident there and a right to be in a shorter queue at the immigration desk? That is to reduce serious matters to triviality and farce. As I say, upon that peg there is now hung a notice reading only "privileges". There are no duties. Beware the offer of a free lunch. This citizenship is an offer of a free lunch. I notice that some former European commissioners are smiling at the prospect of a free lunch.
§ Lord Richard
If the noble Lord berates me, I have to say that I merely mentioned to my noble friend sitting next to me that that was a little rich coming from a former chairman of the Conservative Party.
§ Lord Tebbit
I suspect that in my years as chairman or the Conservative Party I had rather fewer free lunches than the average commissioner (who is now a pensioner of Brussels) ate during his years as a commissioner. As a former chairman of the Conservative Party I do not have a pension. Perhaps I have touched a slightly raw nerve, and I apologise.
However, my point is a serious one. When this Chamber discusses the next treaty, presumably in 1997 after the inter-governmental conference of 1996, and the continuation of this process, what will it be told then?—"Oh, but your Lordships' House accepted the principle of citizenship, and we all know that with citizenship there come not only privileges but duties, and these are the duties". My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor will come forward and say, "Why do your Lordships express such surprise? This was all in train. It was clear that that was what was intended. It is not a constitutional issue to find that European citizens are perhaps bound to perform national service in pursuit of the European foreign and defence policy. These are not constitutional matters. They are not matters to be referred to the people in a referendum. You bought it years ago; you bought it in the treaty on union". I believe that we would be wise to set down a marker and to say, "There shall be no duties attached to citizenship". We would be wiser still if we were to set down a clearer marker and say, "There shall be no citizenship".
If I may say so, the comparison by my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham with Commonwealth citizenship is a little wide of the mark. After all, at that time we were not creating the British Empire; we were legislating for the gentle dissolution of the British Empire. On this occasion we are not legislating for the gentle dissolution of a state which had citizens; we are legislating towards the creation of a state which shall have citizens. Indeed, there are noble Lords on the Benches opposite, and perhaps even one or two on the Benches on this side of the Chamber, who think that that is a proper purpose.
Let me again refer to what was happening when we created the concept of Commonwealth citizenship. We were not legislating on a treaty which would create a single currency in the Commonwealth. We were not legislating for a treaty which would impose a restriction of not working for more than 48 hours a week throughout the Commonwealth. We were not 242 creating an organisation in the Commonwealth which would have a monopoly of negotiation of trade throughout the Commonwealth. We were moving in precisely the opposite direction. Therefore I do not believe that my noble and learned friend was quite on the point today.
I have to say, too, that the concept of Scottish nationality which has been adduced not only by the noble Lord, Lord Thomson, but also by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor—one might call it the Lord Thomson concept—is an interesting one to me. I do not hold that I have English nationality. I do not hold that there are people with Welsh or Scottish nationality in this United Kingdom. My passport does not describe me as an English national. and it is my passport which sets out my citizenship. Therefore I believe that, while rather romantic and perhaps warmly comforting to those of non-English origin within this United Kingdom, the concept is not merely irrelevant, it is technically and legally defective.
I believe that there are strong grounds for considering the concept of citizenship in the same way that one should look at a Trojan horse. No doubt on that memorable occasion there were those present who said, "It's a very nice horse. It is, after all, a gift horse and there are no conditions attached to it. It has been willed to us by those very nice, kind, Greeks'''. When I was a Minister regularly attending the Council, there was a well-established expression, "Beware the Greeks when they come bearing gifts", which was not infrequent. I believe that on this occasion we would do well to be careful of this peculiar gift of citizenship which is said to have no obligations except a barbed hook to lead us onto the next stage.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)
I hate to intervene when two noble Lords are already standing. However, usually only one stands up. I am sure that there will be time for both to speak. To avoid any difficulty, and to save time, I suggest that the noble Lord, Lord Parry, speaks and then the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield.
§ 3.45 p.m.
§ Lord Parry
I am grateful to the noble Earl, the Deputy Leader of the House. I believe that that is the true position. I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, if he believes that he has been delayed.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Rippon, I did not speak in the Second Reading debate. However, unlike him, I did not speak because I was debarred by a rule arranged behind the Throne by the usual channels without any reference to me. I was 20 minutes late in registering my name and therefore could not take pa rt in the debate. The Committee therefore has an additional reason for my speaking now.
I have two points to make which were understated in the main debate. First, if one is born a Welshman—the Committee will have noticed that I was—one 243 will have grown up in a peripheral area of the United Kingdom and Europe, and in a mightily peripheral area of the British Empire. My home is only 20 miles short of the furthermost western point of the United Kingdom. If one has grown up in such an area one realises that certain difficulties arise. They do not arise from nationality, nor from the fact that I was born a Welshman and saw myself as British and European without ever having considered myself within the citizenship of Europe. Living even at that distance from the centre magnified the problems that Wales faced when its basic industry went through a sea-change.
We grew up with great problems of unemployment and other difficulties, some of which are gradually being put right now. Such problems were magnified by our distance from the centre of a country measuring only 400 to 500 miles. Those difficulties would inevitably be exaggerated when we moved into a European Union with the centre of influence even further away.
The second point is more important and has been totally understated in the debate. At this time most countries are moving away from the concept of federation. Some of the greatest federations of states that the world has ever known have collapsed. I believe that even the great federation of the United States of America—I enjoy visiting it and sharing associations—is under strain. It would not surprise me if in the course of my lifetime New York State and the State of California seceded from the United States. That may seem fanciful now. It may seem ridiculous now. But which noble Lords in this Chamber would have forecast the dissolution of the USSR five, six or seven years ago?
I believe, too, that it is absolutely essential to consider the position of people who will be disenfranchised. I refer to those who have not been given the opportunity to decide whether they will surrender their passports and become citizens of a united states. There is a groundswell of opinion in this country which, if we had the courage to tap it, would acknowledge that it was, at the least, agnostic about the need for federation and would prefer to wait. I thank the Committee for giving me the opportunity to say things which may not be acceptable now, but may be understood in the years to come.
§ Lord Cockfield
I suggest that my noble friend Lord Tebbit is factually in error in what he says. The Treaty of Rome itself contains the following words:RESOLVED … to create an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe".Not the states, but "the peoples of Europe". That is the origin of the concept of European citizenship and we can trace it, step by step, from the Treaty of Rome itself, to which we were committed under the Treaty of Accession which was given statutory effect in this country by the European Communities Act 1972. We can trace it right through the Solemn Declaration, signed at Stuttgart in 1983, the Adenino Committee and the Fontainebleau Summit. Those events occurred, I may say, when the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, was a member of the British Government and 244 therefore in a position to know precisely what was happening, right through to the Maastricht Treaty itself. It is a concept deeply embedded in the whole history of the Community and the issue is as simple as that.
§ Lord Moran
I wish to say a word about Amendment No. 54, standing in the names of my noble friends Lord Tonypandy and Lord Monson, the noble Lord, Lord Jay, and myself, which is grouped with this amendment. Before that, perhaps I may say that originally grouped with those was Amendment No. 396, standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Tonypandy and myself, about the duties which the Queen might be required to assume under the treaty. However, we thought that it would be in the interests of the Committee to discuss the amendment separately because it is so important. Although it is related to the question of citizenship, it deserves to be discussed on its own. Therefore, that amendment will be taken in its place, probably on 30th June.
The question of citizenship enshrined in Article 8, which our amendment suggests should be omitted, is the one provision in the treaty which directly affects individuals. It affects the status of each one of us—every man, woman and child in this country. It is important that we should know what we are talking about. I looked up "citizenship" in the Oxford English Dictionary, but I did not receive much help. It said that it was:The position or status of being a citizen, with its rights and privileges".I then looked up "citizen". There were various definitions, but the relevant one is clear and unambiguous. It says that a citizen is:a member of a state, an enfranchised inhabitant of a country, as opposed to an alien".That is clear enough and it fully accords with the aims of those who are working for a European state.
The process has begun already with our passports. As Members of the Committee know, one can no longer have the blue British passport; if one has the misfortune to find one's passport is full up with visas and one has to get another one, it will be a maroon European Community passport. It will contain the same words, that is: "National Status, British Citizen" but in the blue British passport, those words used to be at the front and in the Community passport they are relegated to the back.
That proposal was originally put forward by the Prime Minister of Spain, Felipe Gonzalez, and endorsed by the Commission. The Commission was careful in what it said; there were some soothing words in its opinion. It said that:This would take shape gradually without encroaching in any way on national citizenship, which it would supplement rather than replace. In short, the object would be to encourage a feeling of involvement in European integration".However, the real object, I believe, is quite different. It was made clear in a speech which Chancellor Kohl made to the Bertelsmann Forum on 3rd April 1992, when he said:The European Union treaty introduces a new and decisive stage in the process of European union which within a few years will lead to the creation of what the founding fathers of modern Europe dreamed of following the last war: the United States of Europe".245 It is in that context that the proposal for European citizenship should be seen.
What I particularly dislike about it is the element of compulsion. It is laid down simply that any national of a European Community state shall become a European citizen. One is given no option, there is no way in which we can choose not to become one. That seems totally contrary to the line taken on other matters by Her Majesty's Government. For example, the Prime Minister has written of the Citizen's Charter that it:is a testament of our belief in people's right to be informed and choose for themselves".Why should not people be allowed to choose for themselves whether they want to become European citizens?
§ Lord Peyton of Yeovil
In following the noble Lord, Lord Moran, I wish to say that I do not think that there is anything wrong, ridiculous or dangerous in aiming at the concept of European citizenship. Very much the reverse, when one considers the fearful and terrible alternatives which have distressed and tortured Europe over a long history.
I am glad to have the opportunity of saying a few words closely following the intervention of my noble friend Lord Cockfield. In his speech on 7th June this year, he wholly encapsulated for me in about six or eight lines with great force the arguments why the treaty should be signed. In doing so, he reduced the treaty itself to what seems to me to be its proper level of importance. He described it as:a useful treaty but of little fundamental consequence. It dots the i's; it crosses the t's".—[Official Report, 7/6/93; col. 597.]He made it clear that he regarded it as a natural and predictable follow-up of the 1983 Solemn Declaration on European Union. He made it clear that it was the easily foreseeable result of the Single European Act. There is a clear division between him and my noble friend Lady Thatcher, who described it as a treaty which she could never have signed, even though she had been a signatory of the Solemn Declaration on European Union and that she had, with some vigour, got the Single European Act through its various painful stages in another place.
I am left with reflecting on what a strange way we have chosen to behave. We seek to join a club, but some of us lose almost no opportunity to say how foolish and wrongheaded its ideas are, and to make fairly adverse comments upon those who are our fellow members. I wonder—and I question this—over the years when my noble friend Lady Thatcher was Prime Minister of our country, how many friends she actually succeeded in making in Europe. How many people was she able to persuade there? There were very genuine anxieties which affected them as well as us and in which, with a little more gentleness of touch, we might have had a greater influence instead of awakening hostility as we have done and finding ourselves now—usually, if not always—the odd man out.
§ Lord Peyton of Yeovil
My noble friend can make his own speech in due course. I do not want to detain 246 the Committee for long, but I want to take the opportunity to say this. I was unable to he here during the Second Reading debate, which was, as many Members of the Committee have commented, a very remarkable display of intelligence as well as oratory., in very marked contrast to the proceedings in another place. I scanned the speech of my noble friend Lady Thatcher in the hope of understanding clearly what she saw as being so very different from the Declaration on European Union and the Single European Act in the treaty now being debated. I am bound to say that I was disappointed. I adhere strongly to the view expressed with such admirable clarity by my noble friend Lord Cockfield, based on his long experience of these matters.
I should like to add one further point. 'There seems to be underlying all our debates on this fundamental issue a strange but deep-rooted conceit that we in this country somehow or other run our affairs better than do other people. I beg to differ. Members of the Committee have only to draw on their own day-to-day experience of the way we handle important issues and legislation in this place to feel some unease. I put it no higher. If we were honest enough to compare the results achieved in our country with those achieved elsewhere, there are greater grounds for anxiety than for satisfaction.
§ 4 p.m.
§ Lord Beloff
One could reply to the noble Lord by saying that we cannot really know—we are not impartial—whether we run our affairs better than other countries do. Most of us, I hope, would say that we certainly run them better than allowing other countries to run them for us, which is the purpose of the Treaty of Maastricht.
I share one view of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton. I share his admiration of the forensic skills of the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield. What a career at the Bar was missed. What cases of worse triumphing over good might have happened if the courts had had the benefit of his extraordinary skills.
I take one example. The noble Lord, never without a text—no more than any first-rate barrister would be—quoted from the Treaty of Rome, and said that it talks about a "union of peoples". So it does. But peoples are separate entities. It is quite different to say that we are in favour of a union of peoples. All of us would wish to be on good terms with other people. At is not the same as saying that we wish to merge those peoples into a single people, which would be—and must be—the effect of common citizenship.
As pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Jay, and others, it is unthinkable that one can have common citizenship unless one is subject to a single common authority. In the United States of America—I share the admiration and liking of the noble Lord, Lord Parry, for that great country—there are states. But nobody says he is a citizen of Arizona or South Dakota. He travels abroad and presents his passport as a citizen of the United States of America. Therefore, the lesser loyalties, which are very considerable in some cases, are subordinate to that legal position.
247 The noble Lord, Lord Moran, also raised a question which has been much in our minds; namely, the position of the monarchy. It is, I believe, generally accepted that the word "citizen" has a slightly bad ring to it in British parlance. It was introduced into public debate at the time of the French Revolution. It was as Citizen Capet that Louis XVI lost his head to the guillotine. In other words, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the only serious enthusiasts for the Treaty of Maastricht in this country are those in our republican movement. They rightly say, "Professor Haseler has written a whole book on this. If we were citizens of Europe, our ancient constitution, our monarch and our House of Lords would ipso facto disappear". We shall no doubt argue that point at a later stage.
However, that is by no means the central point with which we have to deal. That was brought home vividly by the noble Lord, Lord Rippon, who always captures our attention. The noble Lord spoke of grave matters which might well occupy us and mentioned unemployment in Europe. Why is the cure of unemployment not figuring so loudly in what are proclaimed by its political leaders as the desiderata of the European Community? Those leaders clearly attach more importance to the institutional changes before us than does the noble Lord. They attach more importance to them than to measures that might be taken to relieve Europe of the scourge of unemployment.
The noble Lord might equally have cited what is going on in the former Yugoslavia—that living, or rather dying, testimony to the European Community's common foreign policy. In other words, there are serious matters. One must answer the noble Lord, Lord Rippon. Why in these circumstances is this Chamber taking time to debate the details of the Treaty of Maastricht? The answer is simple. The Government—I believe, unwisely; indeed I might use a stronger word—have decided that it is appropriate for this country to accept through its parliamentary procedure a treaty which is enormously unpopular. Why do we not have a referendum? It is because everyone knows that the answer would be negative.
The treaty is violently unpopular. It is unpopular in this country and, as all the evidence shows, increasingly unpopular in continental Europe itself. People have come to realise that whatever they may feel about the desirability—and obviously there is a great deal of desire—of greater measures of co-operation, that can only be brought about by responsible governments answering to their parliaments and people for what they do. When something goes wrong governments cannot say: "Well, we could not help doing that. The Brussels Commission or the European Court (or some other institution) has acted in a way which renders us powerless".
The argument for the treaty and for passing this Bill is a dual one. We have been told by the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, to some extent I believe by the noble Lord, Lord Rippon, and indeed by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor at an earlier stage that it is simply taking another step which was 248 prefigured by the treaties and declarations into which we have already entered. Yet, if that is so, why at the same time are we told that unless we push through this legislation our position in Europe will be hopelessly undermined, we shall lose all our friends and we shall have no one left to talk to? Either the treaty is important, in which case in my view it should be voted down, or it is unimportant, in which case it is clearly unnecessary.
Since we, the so-called Eurosceptics, are told that we do not like Europeans, I should like to say something nice about some Germans. I shall mention in particular Chancellor Kohl, the former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Commissioner Bangemann, all of whom come to our rescue whenever the Government seek to pull the wool over the British people's eyes by saying: "Of course, what Mr. Major and Mr. Hurd are saying about a wider, broader, free trading, outward looking Europe is all nonsense. What we are going to do, once the British Parliament has been unwise enough to accept this treaty, is to call the governments together to proceed to another step on the road to integration."
The quotation read by the noble Lord, Lord Moran, from a speech made by Chancellor Kohl could have been replicated several times. Other quotations could have been adduced. It is only by pretending that no such desire exists on the part of certain continental governments that it is possible to make a case for the acceptance of this treaty.
I beg Ministers, even at this late stage, to come clean. Do they truly believe that at Copenhagen, any more than at Edinburgh, Britain is getting its way and bringing about the kind of Europe that we would all prefer?
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
I apologise to the noble and learned Lord. Some of us forget his bell-ringing days in North of England.
The noble Lord, Lord Rippon, said that we have a treaty which has been signed and we should get on with it. That was his attitude. Indeed, that was the attitude that he took in 1972 when we discussed the European Communities Bill. He took that attitude to the degree that he supported a guillotine on that Bill. If I am not mistaken he also supported the Single European Act and again supported a guillotine in the other place so that discussion was restricted. Now there is this Bill. The noble Lord knows as well as I do that what has happened in Europe is that treaty is built upon treaty and, when this treaty is ratified and put into operation—I hope that it never will be put into operation but presumably if the Bill is passed and the treaty ratified that will happen—there will be another treaty which takes us a stage further.
249 The noble Lord knows very well that that is the case. Apparently he would deny Parliament and this Chamber the opportunity of discussing properly, by means of a Bill which refers to a treaty, the provisions of the treaty. Some of us are very concerned about the treaty. Some of us are very concerned that the Foreign Secretary, after he had signed the treaty, said: "Now that I have signed it, perhaps I had better read it". Maybe it was a joke. We do not know. That was said and reported in "heavy" newspapers such as The Times, the Telegraph and so on. A Member of the Cabinet, who is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer, recommends the treaty to Parliament and the people but admits that he has not read it.
Frankly, to recommend a treaty whose provisions one has not read is completely irresponsible. When those who wish to discuss the provisions of the treaty want to take time to do so, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Rippon, will understand that we are concerned about the implications of the treaty—the implications not for us but for the people of this country.
The noble Lord, Lord Peyton, said: "Once you have joined a club, you do not keep cavilling about the rules". Maybe he is right. If one cavils about the rules, one can resign from the club.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Perhaps I may just finish my point, which may be helpful to the noble Lord.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
The noble and learned Lord says that I am making a Second Reading speech. He is completely mistaken. In fact, I am doing what a committee man should do. I am answering the points which have been made during debate in Committee.
Let me return to the point that I was making with regard to the noble Lord, Lord Peyton. It is true that if one joins a club, one accepts the rules or leaves. But this treaty states that its provisions are irrevocable so that one cannot get out of it. Does the noble Lord wish to intervene?
§ Lord Peyton of Yeovil
The noble Lord slightly misquotes me. I was not talking about the rules; I was talking about the club and its members. Before I sit down, perhaps I could coax the noble Lord back to the amendment.
Lord Stoddari of Swindon
The noble Lord need do no coaxing. I am speaking to the amendment. Before dealing with the matters that I wish to raise, I should like to answer some of the points that have been made by other noble Lords. That is proper Committee procedure. I hope that noble Lords will understand the position.
Why is it necessary to establish citizenship? What is it about? Why in order to establish the union do we all have to be citizens of that union? What is the objective? In order to make the treaty work, do we have to be citizens of a union and, if we are not, will the treaty not work? Those are the questions that must be asked. Why is the citizenship clause being imported 250 into the treaty? What good will it do? Will it make the provisions of the treaty work any better? If the answer is that citizenship is not needed to make the treaty work better, why is it in there, if not to make us citizens of a future European federal or unitary state? That is the worry of people who are opposed to the citizenship clause. We cannot understand why it is in the treaty unless the intention is to go Further and build a European federal state or, even worse, a unitary European state with a central government and a central bureaucracy. That is why we wish to discuss the clause in detail. We are entitled to know what it means.
Some people state that nationality does not matter. The noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, correctly stated that he is both a Scot and a British citizen. Being a Scot, if I may say so. does not matter. Let us think about it.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
It matters even less, if I may say so, because we are all citizens of the United Kingdom, owing allegiance to the Queen of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is the entity that governs us and provides for us, and being Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish does not make any difference in that regard. I should like to say to the noble Lord, Lord Thomson, and to all Scotsmen—and perhaps my antecedents are Scottish—that when the Act of Union was passed without the consent of the people, it was never able to stick. That is why the noble Lord, Lord Thomson, calls himself a Scot and not a Briton. He wants to be a Scot. Scots want their own Parliament. The Labour Party wants a referendum to decide whether there should he Scottish devolution. The Scottish National Party still wants independence from the United Kingdom. Therefore, the question of nationality may or may not 'be important. The important matter is the question of government and to whom one owes a duty of allegiance. That is what the debate and the amendments are about.
We should know what the duties are that are prescribed in Article 8. Would anyone take on a job without knowing the duties that are involved? The British people should not be asked to take on duties without being consulted, unless those duties are specified. Will they be creeping duties? Will we be told that "duties" does not really mean duties, in the same way as we were assured during the debate on the Single European Act that "union" did not mean union?
§ Lord Campbell of Alloway
Will the noble Lord accept that in Article 8 of Title II there is no duty referred to, only rights?
§ The Earl of Onslow
The article states:The citizens of the Union shall enjoy rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby".
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Let us have some order. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, asked whether he could intervene in my speech and I sat down and allowed him to do so. In his enthusiasm, the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, answered on my behalf the point that was made by the noble Lord. May I be allowed to resume my speech?
Amendment No. 396A provides for people to be able to renounce their citizenship. If citizenship is being forced upon them, why should they not have the opportunity to renounce it? If a referendum were held the situation might be different, but there will be no referendum. At a later stage, when we can further discuss the amendment and perhaps vote on it, the House will then understand that people should have a choice of whether to be citizens of the European Union.
The article is a bad one. It is completely unnecessary. I hope that at the appropriate time an amendment will be passed that will take it out.
§ Lord Campbell of Alloway
I should like to point out that there is no reference in Article 8 to any duty at all. The only reference is to rights. The common citizenship that is the subject matter of the amendment—which I should like to stick to—is concerned only with the provisions of Article 8. The noble Lord, Lord Moran, referred to Amendment No. 396 in which it is suggested that the question of the sovereign is concerned. Article 8 is perfectly simple to understand. With respect to the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, he has misconstrued it. Citizenship of the union under Article 8 is dependent upon nationality. It confers a dual status in the case of a monarchy such as ours, as a subject of the monarch—and we are not citizens, we are subjects of the Queen—and as citizens of the union. That is the true constitutional position.
Under the second paragraph of Article 8, citizens of the Union have rights which are fully set out. There is no reference to duties, other than by inference to those imposed—here I understand the argument—by the Treaty of Rome, as amended by the Maastricht Bill, ECSC and Euratom. Our sovereign is not a citizen and neither are the subjects of the six sovereign states which are members of the European Community.
Lord Bruce of Donington
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Is he aware that in the groupings tabled for discussion today, Amendment No. 396 is not included? Amendment No. 396A is included, which does not bring in the substance of Amendment No. 396.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Lord Campbell of Alloway
I am obliged to the noble Lord. I was aware of that. Nothing would have led me to intervene on Amendment No. 396 until the noble Lord, Lord Moran, specifically introduced it. I therefore left the Chamber to pick up my notes on Amendment No. 396 which I intended to use next Wednesday. However, as it was introduced, I felt that I had better get on with it now.
§ Lord Moran
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way again. I wish to make clear that I did not introduce it. I explained that it had been grouped and was no longer grouped with the present group and will be dealt with on Wednesday.
§ Lord Campbell of Alloway
I shall not waste any further time, except to say that I hope your Lordships and my noble friend Lord Onslow will have ample opportunity to speak other than from a sedentary position for the third time today.
As I was trying to say, if the Committee look objectively at Article 8 of the Maastricht Treaty, no construction could conceivably serve as a launch pad for federalism, for central government or for any of the fears expressed this afternoon.
§ Lord Tebbit
I am grateful to my noble friend. It enables me also to pick up a point which was made by our noble friend Lord Cockfield. I put it to my noble friend that if, in 1972, I had said to him that the reference to a union of the peoples of Europe was actually a coded reference to the proposal which was to be brought forward 21 years later to make us citizens of Europe, I am sure that he would have accused me of engaging in fantasies and—to coin a phrase from the Front Bench—nightmares for little children.
§ Lord Campbell of Alloway
I am grateful to my noble friend. With his leave and the leave of the Committee, I do not want to enter into a debate between either of my noble friends on the issue. In fact I support the way in which it was put forward by my noble friend Lord Cockfield. However, I am on a slightly different point.
My point is that if one reads Article 8, on any construction no court in the world could consider that as a launch pad for federalism. They are phantom fears if they are based, as they uniquely are, on Article 8 of the Treaty.
I apologise for having made a speech on Amendment No. 396 perhaps at the wrong time. I shall now sit down.
§ Lord Chalfont
Like many other Members of the Committee who have spoken this afternoon I did not put my name down to speak at Second Reading. Having been involved since the 1960s more or less directly in this argument, I felt that I had already spoken and written more than enough on the subject. Therefore I shall not rehearse the arguments here and, in deference to many interruptions and interventions that have been made so far, I shall certainly not make a Second Reading speech. I should like to intervene, if I may, in the exchange between the noble Lord, Lord Rippon, and other Members of your Lordships' Committee, including the noble Lord—if he will permit me to call him my noble friend—Lord Beloff.
I find myself on the side of the noble Lord, Lord Rippon. We have heard much in this debate on an amendment to do with citizenship, about the Trojans and about Don Pacifico, the Greeks and many other exotic figures and nationalities of that kind. We have had a somewhat confused series of exchanges regarding nationalities, being a subject and being a 253 citizen. Perhaps I may say to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, that he may not think it is terribly important to be a Welshman, but to a Welshman it is extremely important. I do not say that in a light-hearted, superficial way. It goes to the heart of much of what we are discussing today. It matters to Welshmen that they are Welsh and it may matter to other people as well.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I appreciate his comments, since I was horn in Wales and am therefore a Welshman. But that was not my point. I understand perfectly well that Welsh people and Scots people feel proud of being Welsh and Scots—I do. My heart expands and contracts when 1: go back to that Rhondda Valley; make no mistake about that.
What I was trying to say was that being Welsh did not alter the fact that we were citizens of the United Kingdom and that it was the United Kingdom institutions which governed our lives. Many of us in Wales did not like that, and still do not like it.
§ Lord Chalfont
I am grateful to the noble Lord. Perhaps I might also point out to him—and this will be proved by a visit to any Chinese restaurant in Cardiff—that being born in Wales does not make one a Welshman.
There have been one or two minor fallacies which I might take a moment to comment upon. One is that one does not need a passport to travel between countries of the Common Market or the European Community. Of course we do. I have just returned from a visit to Paris where I had to show my passport both going in and coming out. I fail to see how it could be otherwise. How else is the customs officer to know that one is a national of one of the countries of the Common Market? Therefore, for people to say that we no longer need a passport to travel around the Common Market countries is, and I suspect will always remain, a fallacy.
There is another fallacy, and perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, will forgive me for referring to it. He spoke of the advantage of joining a shorter queue at the immigration desk. There was a time when there were two sides in London Airport—British passports and others. As a British passport holder one could join a fairly short queue while the others gathered in their hundreds along the other side of the hall. Nowadays, we have EC passports and others. The EC passport holders form the longest queue of all, whereas all the other nationalities are in short queues.
§ Lord Tebbit
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. It enables me slightly to correct him, if I may. I point out that the son of the cook in the Chinese restaurant in Wales will be in the same queue as the noble Lord and me. He may not be Welsh—because Welsh is not a nationality—but he will be British because he has been born in the United Kingdom. I am surprised that the noble Lord should have made such a remark. If I had made it it would probably have provoked mutters amongst a number of noble Lords.
§ Lord Chalfont
I think not. My remark was a light hearted one. I do not think that anyone would ever accuse me of expressing some of the more extreme sentiments that would lie behind that remark if it was made seriously. I simply say that if I saw the son of a Chinese cook next to me in the queue I would know that he was not a Welshman.
I wish to come to my serious point that arises directly from something said by the noble Lord, Lord Rippon, to which other noble Lords have taken exception. I support it wholeheartedly--even more so because of the experience in this Chamber this afternoon on the first amendment. As the noble Lord has said, it is true that there are many other domestic and international matters of great moment confronting the country today. There are matters concerning the defence of the realm, about which many of us are deeply disturbed and anxious. There are possible stirrings of war in the Balkans which may yet engulf us. There is disruption and instability in what used to be the Soviet Union. At the moment and in the immediate future massive problems face this country and this continent. Yet in this great Chamber we are spending six days debating or tabling 430 amendments to a short Bill that concerns a treaty that we cannot amend but can only accept or reject.
Without, I hope, making an improper prognostication, I suspect that at the end the Maastricht Treaty will be ratified. We are committed to this process because of the nature of our parliamentary democracy. I take up a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart. No one would dream of denying the right of any Member of this House or the other place to discuss this Bill for as long and as tediously as he might wish. However, with all due diffidence and a deep sense of resignation I suggest that there may be better ways to spend our time.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Lord Elton
The question before the Committee is not whether or not the treaty should go forward—that matter was discussed at Second reading—but whether the treaty should go forward in its present form; in particular whether it should contain the references to citizenship prefigured in the preamble and set out in Article 8. My noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway performed a notable service by drawing to your Lordships' attention the text of Article 8. However, I feel that he has not gone far enough.
I will take two minutes to remind perhaps one or two of your Lordships who have not as yet read the article that Article 8 sets out citizenship in paragraphs 1 and 2 and thereafter Articles 8a to 8e qualify it. The citizenship in Article 8 entails rights and duties imposed on or given to people who hold the nationality of a member state. Article 8a gives a right of freedom of movement and residence; Article 8b gives a right of freedom to vote; Article 8c gives a right to protection; Article 8d gives a right to petition and a right of access to an ombudsman; and Article 8e gives a right to protection in countries overseas. None of those is a duty. All of those matters are desirable. The last two are created de novo by the article and should be welcomed.
255 My noble friend Lord Onslow. and to some extent my noble friend Lord Tebbit, rested part of their appeal to your Lordships—understandably because it was attractive—on your Lordships' emotional reaction to the idea of citizenship and, by inference, nationality and the flag. All of those are matters that we regard as exceedingly dangerous when they are not dealt with by intellect but by the heart in places like Northern Ireland.
At Committee stage we are under a duty to the country to look at the matter without emotion but as to its effects. Can there be a creeping citizenship of the kind to which my noble friend Lord Onslow referred? I look again at Article 8 and at paragraphs a to e that qualify it. In every case I see that nothing further can be done without the unanimous approval of the council. Nothing can be done by the council without the consent, knowledge and support of the elected representatives of this country. There is no danger of a hidden, creeping, anonymous citizenship. The only qualification of that is to be found in paragraph 2 of Article 8a. That deals not with a duty but a right. One may think that the extension of rights is something that one may allow to go forward without too much anxiety. However, since your Lordships are anxious I should say that it uses the words "save as otherwise provided in this Treaty".
The treaty is there to be read. If your Lordships trouble to read it—and it seems that some of your Lordships have not—it can be seen exactly what those rights and duties are. There is no mystery about the treaty. To read it takes a lot of hard work. But we are talking about a point in history when we can either proceed or halt. Together with the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, and others, I suggest that the time has come to proceed and that there is no danger in proceeding with the Bill and the treaty as drafted in this respect. I hope that we will soon go on to consider other respects because we have been dealing with this for one hour and 41 mortal minutes.
The noble Lord, Lord Elton, himself spoke with great emotion and endeavoured to arouse feelings in this Chamber. He is not alone. Every noble Lord who has spoken this afternoon has sought to influence the opinion of other noble Lords. We would be a very poor Chamber indeed were we to say that there was no room for emotion and deep feeling. The British public feel deeply on this subject. Both those in favour of saying goodbye to our past and opening a brave new chapter—under which we are a permanent minority in Europe—and those who are opposed to it feel deeply. I listened with increasing disbelief to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil. If ever I heard a speech in this Chamber that expressed a lack of faith in the ability of the British people to govern themselves, I heard it from the noble Lord. He asked: did we think we could do things better than others? We do not need anyone to ask that question of a country that has the longest history of democracy in Europe. The British people have proved their ability to govern themselves.
Noble Lords are prepared to say that Malta can stand on its own; that Australia can stand on its own; 256 there is a whole list of countries. But not the United Kingdom. Noble Lords who have lost faith in the ability of the people of this country to govern themselves are speaking for themselves and they are not speaking for the mass of the British people.
§ Lord Peyton of Yeovil
I was not doubting for a moment the ability of the British people to govern themselves. What I was doubting was whether they were using their talents to the full at this time.
To that point I now address myself. I believe—I still believe—in the ability of Britain to manage its own affairs. I have always agreed about the necessity for economic arrangements and treaties with other states. Of course, that is what led us on as a trusting people, believing we were entering an economic argument. But what do we find? We find an impatience. I have been quite aware this afternoon of an impatience from a lot of people to hear the opposition and want us to hurry on. An hour and 40 minutes on the citizenship of the British people is not asking too much.
I believe that we are entitled to a lot more than that before we take a watershed decision.
My noble friend Lord Moran referred to the duties of citizenship. The High Court of Parliament has no greater responsibility than to protect the citizenship of its people and the defence of its people. There is an uneasiness that this treaty is landing the citizens of this country with duties which they are not, as the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, said, being asked to accept but are being told to accept. We are fortunate people in this Chamber. We are not elected people. We are having a say. The great mass of the British people who are not elected are being denied a say. We shall no doubt come to that later in our proceedings.
We have never in this Chamber carried a greater responsibility than we do now. I suppose that every one of us has read the mighty debates of the past—the great excitements over great issues within our land. But this is a watershed debate. This is a debate which could well change the whole course of the power and the rights of our people for generations yet to come. It is not a triviality. Perhaps I may, as I take my seat, say this to noble Lords with whom I disagree. Of course we are all friendly with each other in this Chamber. We must have the ability to disagree with those whose friendship we claim. But we all share a common responsibility for the privilege of belonging to a non-elected Chamber. We have a special responsibility to make sure that the British people themselves will decide which way they want to go.
§ Lord Kennet
I share the conviction of the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, that this is a watershed debate. Every step taken forward and every step not taken forward in the creation of the European Community is a watershed debate for both Houses of Parliament. I wish to take up two points made in the 257 present debate, both of which I believe are mistaken in a way which could affect the manner in which Members of the Committee vote on this amendment.
The first is a point made by my noble friend Lord Parry, which has been made often before by the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher. It concerns the break-up of the great federations of Eastern Europe—what are we doing inventing a federation in Western Europe when in Eastern Europe we have the horrible example of two fairly long-established federations which have broken up in bloodshed and horror? This misses the point that those two federations were created and maintained by force of arms. The Soviet federation was nothing more or less than the Russian empire as it stood after the two world wars, formalised by communism, and as such its dissolution is to be compared not with the creation of any federation in the West but with the dissolution of the British Empire. And of course it compares very unfavourably with the way in which we did that.
The break-up of the Yugoslav federation is slightly different. It was created by force of arms in the Second World War and was maintained, not indeed by external communist tyranny, but by internal communist tyranny, by force of arms throughout the past 40 years. The break-up of that federation is no more a reason why we should not create one in the West than is the break-up of the Soviet Union itself. Incidentally, the Soviet break-up was not all that surprising. At least one member of this Chamber predicted the break-up of the Soviet Union in print in 1978.
The second point I should like to take up is one made by the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, about the word "citizenship". He implied that the word "citizen" is something seditious, dangerous, un-British, tending towards the guillotine, and as such the creation of a new citizenship was bound, if I understood the noble Lord correctly—I am sorry that he is not in his place—to drag us, even if never so little, towards a republic in this country, or at any rate would be deleterious to our national monarchy. It seemed to me that the noble Lord was ignoring the existence of the other four monarchies in the European Community. If the noble Lord were here I would have asked him whether he thought that the Queen of Holland was any less secure and fortunate in her monarchy because that well-governed democracy belongs to the European Community.
§ Lord Kennet
Luxembourg. Absolutely right. It is just because they are not called "King" that one sometimes forgets that they are a monarchy. But one often forgets that Luxembourg is an independent state too. The argument is clear. If our Queen is suffering, then the others would be suffering too. They visibly are not. Any reduction in the status and influence of 258 our monarchy is due entirely to other factors, and nothing dreadful will happen to it if we sign the Treaty of Maastricht as it is.
§ Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn
Citizenship of Europe represents an ideal. It is a very ancient ideal. Many Members of the Committee will recall the words of Schiller:Alle Menschen werden Brüder Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt".I apologise to some Members of the Committee if the German language may be unwelcome to them. But I hope that it is welcome to the majority of the Committee:All men shall become brothers where your healing wings are spread".There may be a larger aspiration there not restricted to Europe. And if I may say so, the concept of the brotherhood of nations has not been ever present in this debate. I was moved by what the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, said, but I would remind him that the aspiration towards the European ideal was, as my noble friend Lord Cockfield indicated, already represented in the Treaty of Rome,to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe".Before we get down to the details, the responsibilities and the duties, I think that there is an ideal here which should be referred to. My noble friend Lord Onslow said that he did not want to be a citizen of Tuscany or Burgundy, but I am very happy to be close to Tuscany and to be associated with Florence or Sienna—and many of us are happy with our associations with Burgundy. I do not think that there is anything to be ashamed of in that particular association.
Some persons here present in your Lordships' Committee seem to regard citizenship as something of a poisoned chalice. I detected a note of distaste in the words of my noble friend Lord Tebbit who clearly thought that "citizenship" was rather disagreeable. My noble friend Lord Beloff referred to the tumbrils and the guillotine as if both would he entering your Lordships' House if we embraced such a term. I do not think that it needs to carry those implications. Indeed, my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway pointed out that no specific duties are implied or referred to In the Treaty of Maastricht. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor made clear in his observations from the Woolsack the other day, that it is clear that should any duties be proposed, they will be brought forward in due time and will be open to debate arid, no doubt, to rejection.
First, therefore, I regard citizenship of Europe as an aspiration. I have long felt myself to be a citizen of Europe, but that does not mean that I have not felt myself to be a citizen of the world or to be it Scot or a citizen of Cambridge. I have long felt myself to be a citizen of Europe, and I am happy to see that explicitly enshrined in the Treaty of Maastricht.
I have one other point to make. It is a technical point relating to the amendments. No noble Lord has made it yet although it seems important. Amendment No. 2 seeks to insert "The Preamble" followed by the deletion of about six or seven words. If one inspects the preamble, which is on page 5 of the Treaty of 259 Maastricht as made available to us, and which is headed "Treaty on European Union", one sees that it includes a great many matters which I would be happy to see enshrined in the Bill but which, as the Bill stands, are not explicitly part of it. Among those—and towards the bottom—are the words,RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe. I do not know whether the noble Lords who suggest this amendment are proposing that we should enshrine within the Bill the principle that we are,RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe".I should be perfectly happy to see that, but there is a paradox—perhaps I should say an inconsistency—in the hearts of those noble Lords who have proposed the amendment, in that they are introducing onto the face of the Bill wording which may be inimical to them.
Amendment No. 8 proposes introducing the whole of Title I into the Bill apart from the few words specified. Again, that seems extraordinary. One noble Lord who spoke on the other side suggested that he might go into the Division Lobbies in support of these amendments. What a very curious thing to do if one is hostile to the Maastricht Treaty, and especially if one is hostile to the Bill, because Title I is not an integral part of the Bill before us. Indeed, that would be unsatisfactory because it is Title I which separates the two pillars, the twin pillars which are not an integral part of the Bill, from the central pillar which is already part of Community legislation.
This is, in fact, more than a debate about citizenship. This is also a wrecking amendment, which would fundamentally destroy the structure of the Bill by including within it elements which are not at present part of it and which I do not think that those proposing the amendments would find welcome.
I hope that I have not made that sound too confusing, but if it does sound confusing, it is because the amendments are confused. The amendments seek to delete the concept of citizenship from the Bill. Noble Lords proposing the amendment could well have done that by suggesting the deletion of Article 8 although, as we have already heard, the notion of deleting individual elements is not really part of the process before us today. Had they sought to delete Article 8 of the Maastricht Treaty, there would have been logic, but to introduce into the Bill the preamble and Title I of the Maastricht Treaty is simply a nonsense. With due respect to those noble Lords who tabled these amendments, I regret to say that I regard them as nonsense and I do not see how anybody could possibly seriously support them.
§ Lord Parry
I am referring to the noble Lord as he sits down. I think that I am entitled to do that. Will he accept that his German pronunciation was immaculate and that it brought back to our minds the phrase that is seldom from them, but that his Welsh 260 pronunciation left a great deal to be desired since the noble Viscount who spoke before him is not the noble Viscount, Lord Tony-pandy, but the noble Viscount, Lord Ton-y-Pan-Dy?
§ 5 p.m.
§ Lord Monson
In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, what worries many of us is not necessarily the idea of citizenship of the Union, but the idea of compulsory citizenship. Inherent in the concept of citizenship is an implied duty of loyalty. It is difficult to think of any example in history where the connection between citizenship and the duty of loyalty has not been made. If the Bill remains unamended, as my noble friend Lord Moran has pointed out, no United Kingdom subject will have any right to disclaim this new citizenship with its implied obligation of loyalty towards a European Union for which he may have no enthusiasm and for which he may, indeed, have a positive distaste. He will have no right or ability to disclaim citizenship unless he goes so far as to emigrate to, say, Australia or the United States—that is quite difficult in these times of world-wide recession and mass unemployment—with a view to becoming a citizen of his adopted country and renouncing his United Kingdom, and hence his European, citizenship.
The Danes, like ourselves, are a proud people, with none of the guilt about their role in the Second World War which leads some of the other countries in the Community to accept the idea of downgrading their own nationality in favour of a supra-national arrangement. The Danes do not want to be forced to become citizens of the European Union and, accordingly, have secured an opt-out for themselves. If the Danes can be granted an opt-out, why cannot we?
One unwelcome side effect of this, in many cases, unsought citizenship is an obligation to submit to unspecified duties. Amendment No. 53, to which I have added my name, and which we shall deal with in due course, seeks to put that right. On at least two occasions when this question has arisen, the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker, has said that she rather wishes that the word "duties" was not in the Treaty. It is clear that, unlike some of her noble friends, she is basically unhappy with that word. The noble Baroness then went on to suggest that the word appeared in the treaty almost accidentally and that it was never meant to be taken completely literally, and that, therefore, there is very little to worry about.
However, on 7th June, in a most interesting Second Reading speech, my noble and learned friend Lord Wilberforce told the House quite specifically:the European Community is a legal structure, based on texts which have been worked out and worked over. Every word has been worked out by lawyers in successive drafts, under successive presidencies, and has been tested by lawyers.— [Official Report, 7/6/93; col. 577.] So, the idea that the word "duties" has crept in almost accidentally simply will not wash.
It is true that no specific duties are enumerated in the treaty. I think that was the point which the noble 261 Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, was trying to make. But just wait until the European Court has got to work on interpreting the treaty. I suspect that we shall then be burdened with duties aplenty.
§ Lord Derwent
Perhaps I may just make one point to the Committee in what is now the third hour of the debate. It is extremely dangerous to play down, as some noble Lords have done, the importance of the mere concept of citizenship. The trouble with this country at the moment is that many people think that they can enjoy citizenship, but that it places no obligation on them of a moral nature; it does not oblige them, in extremis, to fight for this country. Regardless of what the law says, they feel no compulsion to respond to the responsibility of being a British citizen.
I find it extraordinarily dangerous to do as some noble Lords have done, and, indeed, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, suggested, and say, "Ah, but there are different kinds of citizenship," and that European citizenship is not important; it is just a reciprocal obligation; it does not mean anything; it is an aspiration. How can we expect the ordinary people in this country who are not lawyers to say, "Ah, but with this kind of citizenship I am compelled morally to go and fight if necessary, but that other kind of citizenship is only an aspiration".
We are at risk of being too clever. The man and woman in the street needs to be encouraged to think that citizenship means obligations. Far from trying to find ways of saying that there are no obligations if one is a citizen, I, on the contrary, would say that one should not be a citizen unless one is prepared to accept many obligations. That is the only point that I want to make, because how many people in this country will feel that citizenship of Europe imposed upon them will, in the end, oblige them morally to go and fight for Europe?
§ Lord Ewing of Kirkford
Mindful of the words of the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy—I apologise for my Welsh pronunciation—that there is an impatience in the Chamber to reach a conclusion in the debate, I promise faithfully that I shall not detain the Committee long.
I want to say, at the most, three things. Perhaps I may begin where I finished my Second Reading speech: with the rise of nationalism throughout Europe. I do not have the European experience of my noble friend Lady Castle, but I had some experience of five years' working with the Council of Europe and its sub-committee on human rights. I saw at first hand many of the atrocities, as Burns described them, "Man's inhumanity to man", all carried out in the name of nationalism. Each time we visited a country in Europe, whether it was Yugoslavia or, with the unification of Germany, the former East Germany, the evidence given to the commissioners was based on nationalism.
Until my dying day, I shall never forget the hearing held at Frankfurt-on-Oder on that German/Polish border, where—I say as an aside—there is the highest concentration of young Nazis, when we were interviewing various people about some of the things 262 that were going on in that part of what is now the unified Germany. I make that point, because all the evidence given was based on nationalism. I say in all frankness that if I have to chose between citizenship of a wider Europe or nationalism, my choice every time will be citizenship of a wider Europe.
I reject, as gently and kindly as I possibly can, the argument that it is not possible to be a citizen of a wider Europe and still retain one's Scottishness, Welshness, or Irishness. Of course it is possible to be a citizen of a wider community and retain one's Scottishness, Irishness or Welshness. I have to say that the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, was inaccurate when he said that one's nationality is determined—I believe that is the word he used—on one's passport. Of course that is not accurate. I am sure that on reflection the noble Lord would concede that. It would mean that only those who had a passport had a nationality. One's nationality is in fact defined on one's birth certificate. It is possible to be a citizen of a much wider community and still retain those elements of one's background—where one was born and brought up.
I apologise to noble Lords who support the amendment, because I am really speaking through them to my colleagues, especially on this side of the Chamber, who have not declared themselves. One of the things that has struck me forcefully throughout the debate is the way in which those noble Lords who have spoken in support of the amendment are supporting the amendment for different reasons. For example, the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, supports the amendment because he does not want to be a citizen of a wider Europe—that is fair enough—and he is worried about the future of the monarchy. One or two other noble Lords spoke in that vein. That is not the position of the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit. He is openly honest—I say that sincerely—as he always is. He made it clear that he was supporting the amendment—I put this point to my noble friend Lord Jay—not because of the obligations that would be placed on citizens of a wider Europe, but because of the rights that would flow from that citizenship. He then went on to define those rights—the 48-hour week.
When the noble Lord reads Hansard tomorrow he will see that he said that in years to come it will be presented to this place, "You accepted this citizenship and therefore you have to accept the rights, arid the rights will be the inability of an employer to make you work more than 48 hours a week if you do not want to work more than 48 hours a week". I suspect that he meant the whole of the Social Chapter. If that is the noble Lord's opposition, and the reason for his support for the amendment, he has said enough to convince me to oppose the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Jay.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Lord Tebbit
Before the noble Lord sits down, let me make it plain to him that my objection to this citizenship is the same objection as that of his right honourable friend Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn in the other place. That is, that it is not a question of whether there should be a 48-hour week; it is a question of who should decide whether there should 263 be a 48-hour week; whether it should be decided in this Palace of Westminster or in that "palace" of the Berlaymont. That is the issue upon which Mr. Wedgwood Benn and I stand shoulder to shoulder in opposition to the noble Lord who says that that should be decided in Berlaymont. Mr. Benn and I believe that it should be decided in Westminster, whichever way it goes.
§ Lord Pearson of Rannoch
I am afraid that I have to speak to Amendment No. 53 which is in my name and which deals specifically with the question of duties. I appreciate that I do this after a wide-ranging debate on citizenship and duties, but Amendment No. 53 does refer to Title II of the treaty which is imported into the Bill. Before I speak to the amendment, may I say to my noble friend Lord Renfrew, who regaled the Committee with fluent German, that I am sure those of us who oppose this Bill and this treaty would not wish it to be thought that only those on the other side have a command of a European language; therefore I would remind my noble friend Lord Renfrew of an ancient Italian saying which goes: "Meglio soli the malaccompagnati": "Better alone than badly accompanied".
The amendment seeks to remove the new duties, as yet unspecified, which the Treaty on European Union would impose on British citizens. In order to get this matter into perspective for Members of the Committee who may not have made the substantial effort actually to read this wretched treaty, I fear that I should quote the opening two clauses of Part Two of Title II of the Union Treaty. Note, it is no longer to be the European Economic Community. The word "economic" is now to be dropped.
Part Two of Title II, entitled "Citizenship of the Union" starts with Article 8 of the Union treaty and reads as follows:Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby. My Lords, it is the last nine words that we seek to prevent from being imported into British law.
I propose to deal with the amendment by reminding Members of the Committee of what the Government have said to support their contention that Article 8.2 contains no new duties for British citizens. I shall then explain why I fear they are wrong. My noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway and, to some extent, my noble friend Lord Elton have today joined the Government in that position. I hope to show that they too are wrong.
To set out the Government's position I can do no better than quote what my noble friend Lady Chalker, the Minister, said in this Chamber on 17th February and what my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor said at Second Reading of the Bill on 8th June. My noble friend Lady Chalker said:The concept of a union citizenship is additional to national citizenship. It does not replace national citizenship. It constitutes a means of linking some existing rights with limited additional rights …Nowhere in the citizenship 264 provisions is there any mention of a duty of the kind normally regarded as deriving from national citizenship; for example, military service. The reference in the treaty to 'duties' is not a reference to specific duties. This is important,Neither the Maastricht Treaty nor any previous Community treaties impose specific duties on individuals. It is therefore an unnecessary and empty reference. In many ways I find that it is a misleading reference, and I wish it had not been included, because it has no value. I assure your Lordships that there is no power to add new duties under the Maastricht Treaty. I hope to show that that is wrong. My noble friend added:Let me just add that the Maastricht Treaty in no way alters the Queen's constitutional position in the United Kingdom; nor does it impose specific duties on individuals. If she chose, Her Majesty would be entitled to exercise the rights set out in the citizenship provision provided for in Articles 8 to 8e of the treaty. My noble friend Lord Pearson also asked about renunciation. He asked whether one could renounce citizenship. My noble friend answered that by saying:That is a non-issue because citizenship confers certain rights but no obligations. Citizens are not obliged to take advantage of the benefit".—;[Official Report, 17/2/93; col. 1206.]I do not want to dwell on the position of Her Majesty because I believe that we are to debate that fully on 30th June, which I understand is likely to be the last day of our Committee stage. Suffice it to say that at the moment the Sovereign is to be in the same boat as the rest of us, whatever that vessel turns out to be and wherever it turns out to be going.
The position was confirmed by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor on 8th June. My noble and learned friend said:Let me try to explain. Union citizenship does not override national citizenship. On the contrary, it is dependent upon it: one cannot be a citizen of the Union without being a citizen of a member state. He went on,Maastricht will not make us subject to anyone other than Her Majesty and we shall not owe any allegiance to the European Union. Then we come to what I believe may be the crunch. My noble and learned friend said:Article 8 makes a reference to duties. But these are duties incumbent upon nationals and residents of the United Kingdom under the treaty. The treaty includes of course the Treaty of Rome, so that the duties in question in Article 8 are the duties which have been incumbent upon nationals and residents of the United Kingdom, as they have been since we joined the Community in 1972".—[Official Report, 8/6/93; col. 714.]In other words, the Government's position, which is shared by many Members of the Committee and which seems to be set out very clearly in the passage that I have just quoted from my noble and learned friend, is that we only acquire duties under this new union treaty in the same way as we acquired them before; under the Single European Act in 1986 and, indeed, under the Treaty of Rome in 1972.
I believe that the relevant clause of the Treaty of Rome is Clause 189. Indeed, it remained live and relevant in the Single European Act and is now proposed for the Union treaty. It is the clause that first required us to import European legislation into our own British legislation and to make our legislation inferior to that of Brussels and Luxembourg. I am sure that the Government are right when they say that we shall acquire new duties under Clause 189 of the 265 Treaty of Rome if that is carried forward into the proposed Union treaty. But that is only half the story and it is not the half which the amendment sets out to cure.
One does not need to be a lawyer to see that the new Article 8 makes no reference whatever to the old Article 189. Article 8 is an entirely separate and new clause. Indeed, coming as high up in the treaty as Article 8 it must be considered to have precedence over Article 189. I mention that because leading members of our Government have opined that the Preamble and early verbiage of these European treaties are mere "Euro-waffle". Indeed they are, but experience has shown that the Luxembourg Court not only takes them seriously but that it can set higher store by them than by the deplorable drafting which follows in the treaty texts themselves. I believe that the Van Ghent & Loos case proves that point. So Article 8 is an entirely new clause. It establishes an entirely new concept of citizenship of the Union and it proposes to enshrine entirely new duties as yet unspecified which flow from the proposed new rights.
If the Government can show that I am wrong, it must be logical for them to agree with the amendment because the duties in question must be a dangerous irrelevance at best. If the Government cannot show that I am wrong, they cannot honourably proceed to ratify the union treaty unless our new duties have been removed from its text. I shall be very interested to hear what my noble friend has to say and have to reserve my position as to whether to ask the opinion of the Committee until we reach the appropriate number in the Marshalled List.
Lord Bruce of Donington
In listening to the debate, it has become clear that the whole question of citizenship as set out in Article 8 and in parts of other clauses arouses a considerable amount of feeling. Such feeling has been expressed on all sides of the Chamber and one must respect that. There is of course a passion—although I do not know how passions are born of boredom—to get rid of the whole thing as quickly as possible as though it were quite indecent and should be swept under the carpet. To debate on that level puts the issue in a context which is slightly different from that in which we in this House like to discuss questions of principle. To adopt a polite but modified "yah boo" attitude towards every opinion with which one disagrees falls short of the standards to which we all aspire and which some of us achieve—although I regret to say not always myself. They are the generally accepted standards in this Chamber.
I find it difficult to work up any emotion at this time about becoming a European citizen. It is not a prospect which has occurred to me previously but I cannot possibly exclude in the future feeling some emotion about it. However, for some obscure reason I cannot do so today, as of now. We are all politicians whether or not we like to think we are. Sometimes Members on the Liberal Democrat Benches like to abdicate all responsibilities to outside people and eschew all political responsibility. But most Members are in politics and some of us have been so for a long time.
266 I studied and took part in the previous election campaign and I did not notice any spontaneous demand from the people of our country for European citizenship. I read most of the newspapers avidly at that time, as I do every day, but I cannot recall that being made an election issue. For example it was not in any manifesto that it is a burning aspiration upon which the British people wish to be satisfied that we must become European citizens. That did not appear in any party's manifesto. It was not even put down in writing.
Certainly, the idea of European citizenship did not originate from British Ministers. British Ministers never mentioned it. As I tried to point out on Second Reading, one of the reasons for that is that they do not have the time. They are attending to their ministerial boxes and trying to repel boarders, whether they are members of the Government or the Opposition or whether they are keeping their peace as neutrals in any kind of dispute. That has not been put forward seriously by anybody.
Who shunted all that upon us? Who initiated the idea? If the authors are here or in another place, if the original concept of that glorious vision were to have originated in Britain, it would have come from a Minister in another place or from an illustrious Minister here. It might even have come from those with the forensic and legal skills of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay. Where did it come from? Like all other proposals, it came from the Commission. It came from a body of 17 people.
I wish to be quite frank with the House, as I try always to be. I know some of the commissioners. Some are most agreeable. For example, I know Herr Bangemann quite well. He was on the budget committee of the European Parliament with me. I remember one of his interpolations in that committee. His only complaint about the United Kingdom was that he would have to wait six months for his Jaguar. That was a legitimate method of speaking in the budget committee in those days.
I do not believe that the Commission gave the proposal very serious and profound consideration. Why was it brought forward at all? It is a classic shifting of goal posts situation. Members of this Chamber who participated in the debate on the Single European Act—and I see some of them here this afternoon—will remember it quite well. I have all the texts as Members of the Committee would expect me to have. We were told that unless we passed the Single European Act, we should be left out of the mainstream of European affairs. We should be taking the slow line instead of the fast line.
We were told more than that, in particular by the Commission which can always produce a long and authoritative "independent" report at any convenient stage in order to support its views. The Commission issued a document at great expense which explained to us, to the other place and to the country that if we did not pass the Single European Act and if we did not complete the single market, all kinds of dire things would happen. It was said that unemployment would increase and that productivity would not increase as much as it should. It was said that we should 267 progressively lose our share as Europeans, let alone as British, of world markets. Many dire predictions were made.
I am sure that Members of the Committee are not intimidated by such threats. After all, we should be inured to them by now. We were told right from the beginning that unless we took certain action as regards Europe, all kinds of terrible things would happen. The Government Front Bench has now, although it did not do so at the time of the Single European Act, succeeded in convincing my noble friends of that, so it must be persuasive. It is odd that although we passed the Single European Act, the tragic scenario has followed in any event. Indeed, in Europe unemployment is running at 17.5 million and is projected to run at 20 million. Growth in Europe is projected to fall to 0.5 per cent. next year. And yet Commission experts say that Europe needs a growth rate of at least 2.5 per cent. per annum to keep unemployment at its present level. Europe has lost one-fifth of its overseas trade.
In short, even though we did all that we were supposed to do, the predictions have come true in exactly the same inverse proportions that we were promised with the inducements offered to us. However—and herein lies the answer to the story—it is not as though we have completed the single market. I do not wish to tax the memories of Members of the Committee but I hope that it is remembered that we were told of the magnificent opportunities which would arise from the completion of the single market on 1st January 1993. It is now 22nd June, the second longest day of the year, and still 20 per cent. of the market remains to be completed. Those are the latest figures although the Government have not as yet specified which of the single market regulations on the original list of the noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, still remain to be completed. They have not thought it wise to acquaint Parliament as to how far the single market remains to be accomplished.
That is the reason for the bringing forward by the Commission of the Maastricht Treaty. It is the classic way of doing things. When things go wrong, as they have gone disastrously wrong in Europe—its record is far worse than that of Japan and the United States, whereas we were promised the reverse—you produce, if you are an executive, particularly an unelected executive in office like the Commission, a diversion to take people's minds off the fact that the single market has yet to be completed. You use institutional measures to increase your own powers in order that people's minds are directed away from the reality. That is what happened in this case.
Ministers did not originate this proposal, and the people did not ask for it. The Commission has produced a treaty which it knows will occupy people's minds for a long time. People will argue about it and, in the meantime, partly through the treaty and partly outside it, the Commission will give itself more and more powers.
Because of the paving way in which these matters are undertaken, next week or the week after, under the Belgian presidency, there will be proposals to speed up this measure. We shall be told that in 1996, if we do 268 not progress further, we shall be left outside Europe and we shall be second class. However the £2.5 billion contribution which is taken from our Exchequer every year will not be mentioned. That is not taken into account when granting or promising us second class citizenship.
It is really a massive hoodwink; indeed, the Government know that it is. They are ambivalent about it. On occasions, in his more affable moments, we have heard statements from the Foreign Secretary like, "It really doesn't make any difference anyway. It will probably never come into effect". We also heard similar remarks from the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, who doubted whether parts of the treaty would ever come into being. Then there are such statements from the Government as, "Let's get Maastricht over and get on to things that really matter". We can say that again: if they had not had the Maastricht Treaty and this nonsense in the Commission before them, they could have been getting on with the job that they ought to be doing. It is their choice to put the miserable treaty and, within the context of the debate, the miserable series of clauses that we discussing before this Chamber purely as a diversion.
Like the rest of the Committee, I am only human. I ask myself—
Lord Bruce of Donington
The noble and learned Lord must not spoil the impression he has made upon me by my having had the advantage of reading his biography. He should really be much more affable.
I cannot persuade myself, although I may be wrong. I joined the North Paddington Division of the Labour Party in 1935. I honestly and sincerely believe in the brotherhood of man on the widest possible scale, and in friendship with all people. I also believe in the United Nations Charter which, incidentally, also mentions "peoples", in addition to other treaties that have since been passed. But I still cannot get out of my mind the fact that there is something in having an overwhelming regard for one's own country. I do not know from whence it comes, but here it is. I do not mean it in the jingoistic sense.
I was most embarrassed two or three years ago when M. Delors was in his first full flight of office. He, after all, joined the French Labour Party in 1979, roughly the same time that the noble Baroness became Prime Minister and I stopped being a Member of the European Parliament. I remember M. Delors criticising the then Prime Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher, in very adverse and, I considered, unfelicitous terms which were unbecoming to an international civil servant. Indeed, I stood up and said so, much to the consternation of some of my noble friends who wondered why I was apparently sticking up for one of my leading political opponents with whose philosophy, in those respects, I disagreed and still profoundly disagree. My answer was, "She is Prime Minister of my country". It is all very well for us in the United Kingdom to be able to criticise our own Prime Minister—as, indeed, I could, would and do from time to time—but it is not right for an 269 international civil servant to do so. I objected to it. In answer to some of' my noble friends who looked at me a little askance, I said that I would do the same thing if M. Delors attacked Mr. Kinnock.
There was a similar occurrence with Mr. Major. At the end of the Maastricht Treaty negotiations he came back to the United Kingdom and triumphantly said that we had got rid of the word "federal" from the treaty. One thing that shook me was that the Dutch Foreign Minister said in an expletive, "Britian will pay for that". I thought back 47 years to when the British Army liberated Maastricht. It seemed to me to be a little odd. I did not like it. Moreover, I do not think that any other Member of this place would have liked it.
I believe that there is a certain validity, although not in jingoistic terms, for being able to identify far more closely with a society of which one is a member, whatever functions one may perform in it. I beg the Committee not to be taken in by the diversionary tactic of bringing forward for discussion at this time, and without popular demand, the whole question of the citizenship of Europe.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
There is an old Irish saying: "If he fools you once, shame on him; if he fools you twice, shame on you".
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My noble and learned friend has lived with Maastricht for just about as long as I have. He is more learned in the law than I am but he is no more learned in life. We have listened to him for many years, so perhaps it will help him to listen to other people on matters of such importance—and I say that as one of his greatest admirers.
We were fooled in 1972 and one understands that. It is now up to us to decide whether we will allow ourselves to be fooled this year. The Chamber has no power to do anything about it; indeed, it has no power at all to kill the Bill. The only power that this place has is to pass an amendment, which will mean that the Bill will he sent back to another place (which does have the power to do something about it) for it to have second thoughts.
While I agree with the argument put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Jay, regarding the amendment under discussion., I believe that we ought to consider how we react to all that is proposed quite separately from the individual amendments that we shall be discussing over the next two or three weeks. I do not believe that I am all that interested in the Government's reply on this occasion. They will give a similar reply to those that we have read about which were given in another place when the Bill was dealt with a few weeks ago. Moreover, all the arguments that we have heard so far on the first amendment are precisely the same as those presented in another place. I am all for doing that; by all means, let us have all views on the record. But let us not kid ourselves that we can do anything about it in a truly positive and constructive way. All we can do is pass an amendment 270 at some stage which will give those in the other place the chance to do something about it if, after second thoughts, they feel inclined to do so.
The present amendment is important in its separate way. However, I hope that the amendment which we eventually carry in this Chamber will be one on the referendum. That will mean that the other place need not take full responsibility for any change of mind that might occur. If by our actions here we can persuade them to allow a referendum to take place, those in the other place will have the power to let the people express their views.
I beg my noble friends to reflect carefully on the matter, especially those who have not been engaged in the argument as long as some of us have. We have been involved in it since the middle of the 1960s. The only speaker of all those to whom I listened who has been consistent is the noble Lord, Lord Jay. In those days when the Treaty of Rome was before Parliament, we pointed out what it could develop into. We said that if we agreed to the Treaty of Rome as it stood, we would go some way to removing the freedom of the people of Britain to govern themselves. The noble Lord, Lord Rippon of Hexham, had negotiated this matter.
We were told authoritatively that it was nonsense to think along those lines. We were told that the power of people in Britain to govern themselves could not be removed as Britain had the power of veto. We were told that a vote taken in the Council of Ministers had to be unanimous. We were told that one veto could stop a measure going through. We were told all this by a government whom I supported. We were told that if it appeared that the British Parliament was to have its power removed as regards dealing with finance and other such matters, Britain could use its veto to stop that. That fooled the Chamber at the time. We believed that explanation. Some of us, however, tried to prove that there were dangers inherent in the treaty and that the treaty could lead to a loss of British power.
The noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, has said that all we are doing with Maastricht is dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s. He said that Maastricht has nothing to do with altering the process that was started in the Treaty of Rome. If that is the case, why do we need the Maastricht Treaty at all? Why cannot we use the powers that the noble Lord claims we already have? The truth is that Maastricht will confirm beyond doubt that we are prepared to give up the control that the British Parliament has to decide the policies of this country. That is why M. Delors is so pleased with the treaty.
The noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington. has said that some arguments coming from this side of the Chamber had persuaded even his own side to be in favour of the Maastricht Treaty. I suggest that it was no argument from this side that caused that about-turn. It has surprised me—this has surprised me more than anything I have ever experienced in politics—to learn that M. Delors was invited to be a spokesman at the TUC some years ago. It is well known that at that congress he hinted, both in public and in private, at the following theory. He said we 271 would never achieve socialism through Westminster but there was a good chance of achieving it through Europe. This treaty is the beginning of that process. That is why the Opposition suddenly did an about-turn on Maastricht. They are eager to be included in Maastricht because they approve of its social policies. We on this side of the Chamber do not agree with the Opposition's socialist policies. The Opposition have been consistent on this matter as long as it has suited their interests.
We on this side of the Committee have no desire to speed up socialism in this country. However, I hope we have every desire to retain our freedom to decide things for ourselves. The veto has gone, or almost gone. We have lost a great deal of the power to prevent the stress that I, the noble Lord, Lord Jay, and others have said could arise. It has now been said that subsidiarity will achieve the same purpose as the veto was intended to achieve. No one knows what subsidiarity means and no one will decide what it means. However, I am convinced that subsidiarity will go the same way as the veto.
Our duty in this Chamber is to state that, although we accept the economic aspects of the Treaty of Rome that have so far been realised, we are not prepared to move that extra inch over the boundaries which take us into politics and social policies. We can prevent that. I hope I may refer to the noble Lord, Lord Jay, as my noble friend. I do not know whether my noble friend intends to push his amendment to a vote. I hope he will not do so. I hope we shall not spend time in voting on this issue.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
As I have said, my noble and learned friend's frivolity on these important topics will lose him many of his political friends. I respect his judgment on legal matters but, as I have already said, we are almost the same age and we became parliamentary candidates in the same year, 1938. Our intimate knowledge of what has happened in that period is reasonably equal. I beg of my noble and learned friend occasionally to listen when someone other than himself is speaking.
I advise my noble friends by all means to air their views on these clauses and amendments as that can only do good. It can only do good to put our feelings on the record. However, we should be in no doubt that we are wasting time—
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
He is leading the pack again. We are wasting our time if we think we can do anything about this measure until we reach the stage where an effective amendment can be passed which will give another place the power—the other place has the power to do something about this—to get on and do its duty.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
I hate to intrude on family quarrels. We are debating a high and weighty series of issues. However, I am bound to say that we are doing so in a curious way. We should recall that we 272 are in Committee. We are debating amendments. Of all the speakers who have spoken this afternoon, only the noble Lord, Lord Elton, and the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, have given detailed attention—my noble friend Lord Jay has only given attention to his first amendment and not to the succeeding amendments—to the series of amendments which is to be decided upon by any vote that might take place upon Amendment No. 2.
It is necessary to remind the Committee of what the amendments contain. Amendment No. 2 would insert the entire preamble in order to exclude a few words about citizenship. Amendment No. 8 would insert the entire Title I in order to exclude a few words about citizenship. Amendments Nos. 53 to 60 concern Article 8 in Part Two on citizenship of the union. Amendment No. 53 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, and others would remove the words,subject to the duties imposed thereby. In contrast Amendment No. 54 in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, would remove the entire article. We should decide which of these views we take.
Amendment No. 55 in the name of my noble friend Lord Bruce would remove Article 8a which states that,Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely. It further states that action by the Council facilitating the action of the rights shall be unanimous on,a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the assent of the European Parliament. Article 8b gives a citizen of the union the right to vote and stand at municipal elections and in European elections,in the Member State in which he resides. My noble friend Lord Bruce and the noble Lord, Lord Monson, wish to take away that right. Article 8c gives citizens of the union the right to protection,by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any Member State", when they find themselves in a state outside the union where their own state is not represented.
The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, wishes to remove the phrase, "on the same conditions as the nationals of that State". My noble friend Lord Stoddart wishes to remove the entire article and remove that entire right.
Article 8d gives citizens of the union the right to petition the European Parliament and to apply to the ombudsman. Curiously none of the amendments would take out Article 8d which would be left alone and intact if the amendments were to be carried.
Article 8e requires annual reports to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee, and unanimous approval of such reports. My noble friend Lord Bruce would take out the second paragraph. In contrast, my noble friend Lord Stoddart would take out the entire paragraph.
So far we have not made very good sense of the amendments, have we? Amendment No. 396A in the name of my noble friend Lord Stoddart would allow individuals to renounce citizenship of the union. At first sight that might seem rather attractive. However, supposing we find ourselves in Tirana and want to exercise our rights under Article 8c, will the Italian consul in Tirana say, "I'm sorry, I can't help you 273 because you as an individual have renounced citizenship of the union"? Alternatively, is my noble friend suggesting that we shall carry different passports according to whether we have renounced citizenship of the union?
Amendment No. 410 in the same group, which is the only amendment with which I have any real sympathy, has not been debated at all. That amendment is in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Morris, and the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, and they still have an opportunity to speak to it.
If the noble Lord read his list of groupings with more care he would see that the amendment has not been grouped with these other amendments.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
I am delighted to hear that. I apologise to the noble Lord. His amendment is included in the copy of the list of groupings which I have; but he has exercised his undoubted right to take it out of the grouping.
We ought to have been debating the amendments. Instead, we have debated the Bill as a whole. We have repeated a large part of the Second Reading debate. I am sorry to say that we have debated it in a tone which has not improved on many of the worst misconceptions which exist about the treaty. We heard from my noble friend Lord Jenkins of Putney about a European superstate. We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, that we would be selling all that we own at the moment. He suggested that as a result of the Bill, we would have to adopt a 48-hour maximum working week. I remember some of my more enthusiastic comrades at the time of the 1975 referendum taking me by the collar, shaking me and saying "If you vote 'yes' in the referendum you will be voting for conscription in this country". That has not happened and would not happen.
We have been told by the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, that we would be voting for the disappearance of the monarchy and of the House of Lords. We have been told by the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, that the duties which would be imposed are as yet unspecified, although it is very clear from the text of Article 8 that the duties are those imposed by the treaty and none other.
No, there are practical and principled reasons why the amendments will not do.
§ Lord Pearson of Rannoch
I am obliged to the noble Lord for giving way. It is very generous of him to do so. The duties are unspecified. They may well be imposed by the treaty, and I maintained that they were imposed. I spoke very specifically to my amendment. They are indeed imposed by Article 8. They are not imposed by Article 189, which is not mentioned in the new treaty as it comes up to Article 8. Those duties are there. They do depend on the treaty. If the noble Lord could specify them, he would help the Committee enormously.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
It is not for me to specify them. If they are not specified in the treaty, they are not duties; and they are not covered by Article 8.
274 On the issue of sheer practicality, I suggest that what we have in Article 8 is all gain arid no loss. There is no loss whatsoever of national identity by the addition of citizenship of the union. I am a Londoner of half Scots and half London descent. I am proud to be a Londoner, and I am proud to be a Scotsman; but I would also be proud to be a citizen of the union and I would be proud to be a part of the movement which would lead us in that direction.
My noble friend Lord Parry talked about most countries moving away from the concept of federation. My noble friend Lord Kennet effectively answered that by pointing out that the federations which have been dissolved are those which were imposed by force of arms. The one overriding anxiety which I have as we reach the end of the 20th century is that we may end up with far too fragmented a number of nation states with no means of acting together. In my view, the European Community and the European Union give us an opportunity to act together to prevent the disastrous fragmentation of the international community.
It is the duty and responsibility of the Government to get its own legislation through. I do not say that we shall support the Government on every amendment. I certainly cannot seek to persuade my noble friends Lord Bruce, Lord Jenkins, Lord Stoddart or Lord Parry to support us in this matter. However, I say to all of my other noble friends that the Labour Party Conference last year said that this may not be the best treaty we could ever have, but it is the best treaty that we have. These amendments would be wrecking amendments to the treaty and the Committee should reject them.
§ Lord Parry
As my noble friend sits down, will he answer this question? Is it not true that the United States of America fought a bloody civil war, in which so many people were killed that the numbers are indeterminate, and was the union not enforced, historically, by force of arms?
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
I thought that I was being kind in ignoring my noble friend's suggestion that the United States of America was about to break up. I see that he takes the matter far more seriously than I did, and I apologise to him for that neglect.
§ 6 p.m.
Nobody could say that Members of the Committee do not care about these matters. There has been an expression of opinion from all sides this afternoon.
I thought that the most extraordinary of all came from my noble friend Lord Harmar-Nicholls, who said that he was not at all interested in the Government's reply. I do not blame him for saying that. He said "It will be the same as we have heard before". I can only say to my noble friend that it would be slightly alarming if it were different. Then he made a speech on the referendum and the disadvantages of the Community. He gave virtually a Second Reading speech, which had very little to do 275 with the amendment, which relates to citizenship. I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, brought us back to the amendments.
There is nothing like such opaque subjects as citizenship or sovereignty to generate anxiety, agitation and heat. That is not surprising. That has been the case this afternoon. Members of the Committee, quite rightly, feel very strongly about these matters. However, I suggest that it is important to keep our feet firmly on the ground, to keep our flights of fancy well in rein and to consider the facts.
The amendments which we are discussing together, and which have been grouped for convenience, all aim to delete the provisions of Part II of the Maastricht Treaty, which is the citizenship chapter. Members of the Committee have tabled amendments which, seriatim, pluck out from the treaty one by one the various articles which confer rights—not duties—on those who are citizens of the union.
The citizenship chapter of the Maastricht Treaty establishes for the first time the concept of citizenship of the European Union. The noble Lord, Lord Jay, said that one could not be a citizen of anything other than one's country. I do not agree with him. Citizenship is a relationship with something or some organisation. One can be a citizen of a city. My noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham said that one can be a citizen of the Commonwealth or a citizen of the world.
My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor put the matter very clearly at Second Reading when he said:Union citizenship does not override national citizenship. On the contrary, it is dependent upon it: one cannot be a citizen of the Union without being a citizen of a member state. The noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, put it well when, on 17th February, he expressed sentiments which I wholeheartedly echo:'By nationality I am a Scot. I am proud to be a British subject. By conviction I am a citizen of Europe and I see no conflict at all between those three propositions'.My noble and learned friend went on to say:It is also important to remember that there is a distinction between the concepts of citizenship and of allegiance. We owe allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. We will continue to do so when we are citizens of the Union. Citizenship of the Union differs from national citizenship, particularly in a monarchy like that of the United Kingdom. Here the citizen is also a subject. Maastricht will not make us subject to anyone other than Her Majesty and we shall not owe any allegiance to the European Union—".[Official Report, 8/6/93; col. 714.]It is worth reminding ourselves exactly what the chapter establishes and what it does not. The first point to remember is that we already have a relationship with the European Community by being members of it, as my noble friend Lady Elles pointed out. The term "citizenship" puts into words what is actually happening now. It adds no new duties but it gives additional rights.
The chapter introduces four new rights and reconfirms some old ones. The new rights which it establishes are, first, the right to vote and to stand for election in municipal elections—that means local elections—and in elections to the European Parliament in whichever member state a citizen may reside.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Will the Minister confirm absolutely that "municipal" means local elections? As I understand it, in some continental countries "municipal" refers to all elections. It is important that we are assured that "municipal" means only local elections and not elections to Parliament.
I can confirm that it refers to local elections. It does not refer to parliamentary elections.
Secondly, the chapter establishes the right to consular protection in states where the member state of which a citizen is a national is not represented. Thirdly, it establishes the right to petition the European Parliament. Fourthly, it establishes the right to apply to a European ombudsman. That is what the chapter does.
The rights to freedom of movement and residence which are laid down in the Treaty of Rome are reconfirmed in Article 8a. They are explicitly made,subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in this Treaty and by the measures adopted to give it effect. Those limitations include the grounds of public policy, public security and public health referred to in Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome. They are clarified further in the rights of residence directives which entered into force in June 1992 and which give rights of residence to European Community nationals who are not economically active but who have sufficient resources not to become a burden on the state of residence.
Article 8b establishes a right for European Community nationals who are resident in another member state to vote and to stand as candidates in local and European elections in that state. I confirm again to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, that general elections will be unaffected. Our citizens who live abroad will also benefit.
Article 8c confers a right to reciprocal consular facilities for unrepresented nationals. There does not seem to be much wrong with that.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ The Earl of Onslow
Will my noble friend clarify that? The access to consular activities given to us by the Russians in Iraq is not subject to the Treaty of Maastricht. We can have such arrangements without the Treaty of Maastricht.
If my noble friend will contain himself for a little, he will understand the point I make.
One has reciprocal consular activities for nationals who are unrepresented. For instance, if a Member of the Committee were to lose his passport on a trek through the Central African Republic, he could go to the French consulate in Bangui and need not go to the British High Commission in Lagos, which is some 700 miles away. I am sure that that would be a substantial benefit to those noble Lords who may, erroneously, be so distressed at the prospect of the Maastricht Treaty that they might wish to go away on holiday. It would also apply to others too.
§ Lord Moran
I am most grateful to the noble Earl for giving way. Perhaps he will assist me on the matter about which he has just spoken. It is my understanding that international law allows a state to protect an individual only if the individual is a 277 national of that state. Therefore, does it follow from that that the arrangements that he describes will work only if European citizenship defines one's nationality as being European?
It means that there are consular facilities available to people of different nationalities where they find that their own consular arrangements are not available. The consular arrangements available to a British person would be, for instance, through a French consulate where there was no British consulate.
Article 8d confers the right to petition the European Parliament on a matter which comes within the Community's field of activity and which affects the person concerned directly. It also gives union citizens the right to take to a European ombudsman complaints of maladministration in the activity of the Community institutions or bodies (except the European Court of Justice and the court of first instance). Those are additional measures of democratic accountability which we can enjoy, which we in the United Kingdom supported and for which we pressed at. Maastricht.
I have dealt with the rights that the chapter confers. Now let us consider what simply is not there.
Article 8's reference to,rights and duties conferred by this Treaty",(i.e. the Treaty of Rome as amended by subsequent treaties) is not a reference to specific duties. Neither the Maastricht Treaty nor previous European Community treaties impose any specific duties on individuals. The only duty which an individual has is to obey the provisions of Community law which impose obligations on individuals. Usually European Community laws concern governments, public bodies and companies. Nowhere is there any duty of the kind which is normally regarded as associated with national citizenship, such is—as has been suggested—military service. The Community does not have carte blanche to extend the rights which are mentioned in Article 8 either.
Lord Bruce of Donington
The noble Earl refers to duties. Article 812) refers to the duties. Will it be possible for the Commission to bring forward a proposal which among its recitals would include having regard to Article 8(2) of the treaty? It proposes this or that duty for a citizen or a group of citizens. Is it possible for the Commission to produce such a proposal authenticated by reference in a recital to Article 8(2) about the duties imposed by the treaty?
That is covered by Article 8e.
Article 8e provides a power to add new rights, but subject to two safeguards. They are unanimity in the Council and ratification in each member state. Those are both necessary before any extension of rights can enter into force. The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, said that this was a precursor to a federal state. I think that that is not so. He said that we would have new duties imposed upon us and that they were creeping duties. That does not follow.
The noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, was anxious about the dangers of seeking to suppress nationality. No such attempt is being made. 278 Citizenship is not a substitute for nationality; and nationality remains unaffected. My noble friend Lord Tebbit was worried about his passport; he said that his passport described him as British and not English. 1 t still will do so, and that demonstrates that nationality is not changed by the European citizenship. One has to be a British national in order to be a Union citizen. One does not stop being a British national when one takes on Union citizenship. The noble Lord, Lord Moran, was also worried about European passports. It is not a European passport, it is a European format. It remains a British, French or Spanish passport which is issued by, and only by, the national authorities concerned.
Then my noble friend Lord Beloff was worried and made a comparison of 'he Union with the United States of America. He said that in the United States the individual travels on a United States passport, not a Californian one. He is quite right. The difference is that British individuals will travel on British passports, not European ones. I think that that demonstrates that the European Union is not a superstate.
My noble friend Lord Beloff and the noble Lord, Lord Moran, were worried about what Chancellor Kohl said about a United States of Europe. He said that a United States of Europe would mean that we would be like Texas or California. That is not the case. In this Europe we shall remain to a large extent nation states with our own identity and separate administrations in many areas.
On another occasion, the Chancellor said:We have not laid the foundation stone with Maastricht for a European superstate which reduces everything to the same level and blurs the differences. Rather we have committed ourselves to a Europe constructed on the principle of unity in diversity. We must do everything we can in future to shape European policy in such a way that people can identify with it more easily. They must see that it is concerned with their interests and not with a technocratic Europe, far removed from the people".So said Chancellor Kohl. Thus, he aspires to a European Union in which people's sense of national identity would be as strong and as real as ever.
It is important to realise that Union citizenship will not take the place of national citizenship. That is made clear in the agreement called Decision on Denmark, which was agreed by all 12 member states at the Edinburgh European Council.
The noble Lord, Lord Monson, said that the Danish were opting out on citizenship; but the Danes have not been given an opt-out to the citizenship provisions. The decision on Denmark agreed at Edinburgh simply clarified two points: that Union citizenship does not supersede national citizenship, and that no new rights can be granted without ratification by each member state. We agree on both accounts and the same applies to the United Kingdom.
We cannot make provision—as the noble Lords, Lord Jay and Lord Stoddart of Swindon, and my noble friend Lord Onslow would wish—for British citizens to renounce citizenship of the Union because the additional benefits of citizenship are made available solely by virtue of a person being a British citizen. An individual can of course choose not to 279 exercise those additional benefits, if he so wishes. My noble friend Lord Onslow said that he did not want to be a citizen of Europe; he wanted to remain a loyal subject. My noble friend can remain a loyal subject and he need have no worry about that. European citizenship does not affect the relationship of British subjects to the Crown and, as my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor said at Second Reading, citizenship must not be confused with allegiance.
Thus, at the end of this debate which has gone on for three hours and 20 minutes, what is all the brouhaha about? The citizenship provisions confer on United Kingdom citizens some new rights. But they are beneficial rights. They impose no new duties. I reckon that that is 30-love, and I suggest that the Committee does not accept the amendments proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Jay.
§ Lord Jay
I have the feeling that this debate should come to an end. I therefore confine myself briefly to the amendments and Article 8. First, I understood the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, to say that duties were not mentioned at all under Article 8. It may be that I misunderstood him. However, there is no question whatever that they are so mentioned. I have quoted them once today already and the words are:Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby".Surely, the noble Lord does not deny that.
§ Lord Campbell of Alloway
I say for the second time that anyone who reads the article can see it. There is no reference to any specific duty, only a reference to rights. Love-15, as my noble friend would say.
§ Lord Jay
The noble Lord, Lord Rippon, is still in his place. He was a little inclined to say that we should not carry on the discussion much longer, not just on this amendment but the whole debate, because the British Parliament is in the position of holding up the whole of western Europe. I must remind him that the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker, told me a fortnight ago from the Front Bench that Germany has not merely not yet ratified the treaty but is not expected to come to a decision before September at the earliest. So there is no hurry about the matter. But if the noble Lord is so full of impatience, he should address his impatience to the constitutional court which I believe is to be found in Bonn.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, rightly said that there must be a reciprocity between rights and duties, whether it is citizenship or anything else. No one disputes that so far as I know; and we certainly do not. Incidentally, there is no reciprocity of that kind in the treaty because the treaty specifies the rights at great length, as we have been told a good many times. But nowhere does it specify the duties. In his last speech, the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, went some way to remedy that and give us an idea of what are the duties. But they are not specified in the treaty or the Bill.
My noble friends and I essentially contend that if the new citizenship is to be conferred on every British 280 subject, that subject should be clearly informed both of the rights he is acquiring and of the duties imposed upon him. He should be given a free choice, whether he thinks, in those circumstances, and knowing both sides of the exchange, that it is worth his while. That is a matter of ordinary, individual liberty and the free choice of the citizen. It is because we feel strongly on that point, whatever the amendments may say exactly, that I think it would be right to proceed now to a decision on this issue.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Before my noble friend sits down, there is a point that I should like to raise with him. It arises from remarks which were reported by the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers. He referred to remarks made by Chancellor Kohl. Can my noble friend confirm that Chancellor Kohl also said:The European Union Treaty introduces a new and decisive stage in the process of European union which within a few years will lead to the creation of what the founding fathers of modern Europe dreamed of following the last war: the united states of Europe"?
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 48; Not-Contents, 242.282
|Division No. 1|
|Bauer, L.||Monson, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Moran, L.|
|Beloff, L.||Morris, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Onslow, E.|
|Buxton of Alsa, L.||Parry, L.|
|Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.||Pearson of Rannoch, L. [Teller.]|
|Derwent, L.||Peel, E.|
|Dormand of Easington, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Dormer, L.||St. Germans, E.|
|Erroll, E.||Salisbury, M.|
|Galpern, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Glenamara, L.||Sharp of Grimsdyke, L.|
|Hamilton of Dalzell, L.||Shrewsbury, E.|
|Hardinge of Penshurst, L.||Smith, L.|
|Harlech, L.||Stoddart of Swindon, L. [Teller.]|
|Jay, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Jeger, B.||Swansea, L.|
|Jenkins of Putney, L.||Swinfen, L.|
|Kagan, L.||Tonypandy, V.|
|Kinloss, Ly.||Wedderburn of Charlton, L.|
|Kinnaird, L.||Whaddon, L.|
|Liverpool, E.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Middleton, L.||Wise, L.|
|Ackner, L.||Aylestone, L.|
|Addington, L.||Banks, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Barber, L.|
|Aldington, L.||Barnett, L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Beaumont of Whitley, L.|
|Alexander of Weedon, L.||Belstead, L.|
|Allen of Abbeydale, L.||Blackstone, B.|
|Alport, L.||Blatch, B.|
|Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.||Borthwick, L.|
|Boston of Faversham, L.|
|Arran, E.||Boyd-Carpenter, L.|
|Astor, V.||Bridge of Harwich, L.|
|Astor of Hever, L.||Brightman, L.|
|Attlee, E.||Brougham and Vaux, L.|
|Burton, L.||Hayhoe, L.|
|Butterfield, L.||Henderson of Brompton, L.|
|Butterworth, L.||Henley, L.|
|Cadman, L.||Hesketh, L. [Teller.]|
|Caithness, E.||Hives, L.|
|Caldecote, V.||Hollis of Heigham, B.|
|Campbell of Alloway, L.||Holme of Cheltenham, L.|
|Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.||Hood, V.|
|Carnegy of Lour, B.||Hooper, B.|
|Carnock, L.||Hooson, L.|
|Carr of Hadley, L.||Houghton of Sowerby, L.|
|Carter, L.||Howe, E.|
|Cavendish of Furness, L.||Howe of Aberavon, L.|
|Chalker of Wallasey, B||Howell, L.|
|Charteris of Amisfield, L.||Howie of Troon, L.|
|Chelmsford, V.||Hughes, L.|
|Chesham, L.||Huntly, M.|
|Clark of Kempston, L||Hylton-Foster, B.|
|Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.||Inchyra, L.|
|Clinton-Davis, L.||Jeffreys, L.|
|Cochrane of Cults, L.||Jellicoe, E.|
|Cockfield, L.||Johnston of Rockport, L.|
|Colnbrook, L.||Kennet, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Kilbracken, L.|
|Constantine of Stanmore, L.||Kilmarnock, L.|
|Craig of Radley, L.||Kimball, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Kintore, E.|
|Cranborne, V.||Lane of Horsell, L.|
|Crathorne, L.||Lauderdale, E.|
|Crickhowell, L.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.|
|Cumberlege, B.||Lockwood, B.|
|Darcy (de Knayth), B.||Long, V.|
|Davidson, V.||Longford, E.|
|Dean of Beswick, L.||Lucas, L.|
|Denton of Wakefield, B.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.|
|Desai, L.||Lyell, L.|
|Downshire, M||Mclntosh of Haringey, L.|
|Dudley, B.||Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.|
|Eatwell, L.||Mackay of Clashfern, L.|
|Eccles of Moulton, B.||[Lord Chancellor.]|
|Eden of Winton, L.||Mackie of Benshie, L.|
|Elibank, L.||Macleod of Borve, B.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Malmesbury, E.|
|Elles, B.||Mancroft, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Marlesford, L.|
|Elliott of Morpeth, L.||Mason of Barnsley, L.|
|Elton, L.||Merlyn-Rees, L.|
|Ewing of Kirkford, L.||Merrivale, L.|
|Fanshawe of Richmond, L.||Milverton, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Finsberg, L.||Montgomery of Alamein, V.|
|Flather, B.||Morris of Castle Morris, L.|
|Foley, L.||Mottistone, L.|
|Fraser of Carmyllie, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Fraser of Kilmorack, L.||Moyne, L.|
|Geddes, L.||Mulley, L.|
|Geraint, L.||Murton of Lindisfarne, L.|
|Gibson-Watt, L.||Napier and Ettrick, L.|
|Gilrnour of Craigmillar. L.||Nelson of Stafford, L.|
|Gisborough, L.||Nicol, B.|
|Gladwyn, L.||Norfolk, D.|
|Goold, L.||Norrie, L.|
|Goschen, V.||O'Cathain, B.|
|Graham of Edmonton, L.||Ogmore, L.|
|Granard, E.||Orkney, E.|
|Gray of Contin, L.||Oxfuird, V.|
|Grey, E.||Palmer, L.|
|Gridley, L.||Park of Monmouth, B.|
|Grimston of Westbury, L.||Pender, L.|
|Grimthorpe, L.||Perry of Southwark, B.|
|Hacking, L.||Peston, L.|
|Haig, E.||Peyton of Yeovil, L.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||Portsmouth, Bp.|
|Hampton, L.||Prentice, L.|
|Harding of Petherton, L.||Prior, L.|
|Harmsworth, L.||Reay, L.|
|Harris ot Greenwich, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Harvington, L.||Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.|
|Renton, L.||Strathcarron, L.|
|Renwick, L.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Richard, L.||Strathmore and Kinghorne, E. [Teller.]|
|Rippon of Hexham, L.|
|Rochester, L.||Taylor of Blackburn, L.|
|Rodger of Earlsferry, L.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Russell, E.||Thomas of Gwydir, L.|
|Russell of Liverpool, L.||Thomas of Swynnerlon, L.|
|St. Davids, V.||Thomson of Monifieth, L.|
|St. John of Bletso, L.||Thorneycroft. L.|
|Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.||Thurlow, L.|
|Sanderson of Bowden, L.||Tordoff, L.|
|Savile, L.||Torrington, V.|
|Seccombe, B.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Seear, B.||Trumpington, B.|
|Selborne, E.||Turner of Camden, B.|
|Shackleton, L.||Ullswater, V.|
|Shannon, E.||Varley, L.|
|Sharples, B.||Vestey, L.|
|Sherfield, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Shuttleworth, L.||Wade of Chorlton, L.|
|Simon of Glaisdale, L.||Wakeham, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]|
|Skidelsky, L.||Waverley, V.|
|Slynn of Hadley, L.||Weatherill, L.|
|Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.||Whitelaw, V.|
|Stedman, B.||Wilberforce, L.|
|Stewartby, L.||Williams of Crosby, B.|
|Stockton, E.||Wynford, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to according.
§ 6.42 p.m.
Lord Bruce of Donington moved Amendment No. 3:
Page 1, line 9, after ("(k)") insert ("The Preamble (except the words "including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence, thereby reinforcing the European identity"").
§ The noble Lord said: I hasten to assure the Committee that the purpose of the amendments is to seek explanation only. It is not proposed to make an extraordinary exposition on them. The Committee may be familiar with the original draft of the Treaty on European Union as agreed in Maastricht on 10th December and incorporated in a memorandum issued on 13th December by the conference of representatives of the governments.
In the common provisions (which are applicable to all parts of the treaty) at Article B the following words will be found:
to assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and security policy which shall include the eventual framing of a common defence policy".
In the same document, under Article D in the foreign policy part of the treaty, appear almost the identical words:
The common foreign and security policy shall include all questions related to the security of the European Union, including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence".
It seems as though the participants in the conference wanted to emphasise that point. They gave it double emphasis: first in the general provisions, under Title I; then in that part of the treaty relating to foreign policy.
Coming to the treaty itself—it will be remembered that it was initialled on 7th February 1992--the words have been slightly changed. In Title I it states:
to assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and
security policy including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence".
Again, those words are repeated in Article J.4 in the treaty:
including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence".
I ask the Minister who is to reply why it becomes necessary to incorporate in a treaty a provision about where something might lead. It seems to be an extraordinary provision to have in a treaty. One could use it in regard to almost anything. It might lead to palm trees being planted in Pimlico. Who knows? What is the relevance of the words:
which might lead…to a common defence"?
Quite clearly it has no particular relevance to the immediate future. It is not something upon which the Community is required to act now. What is the significance of:
which might in time lead to a common defence"?
I do not believe that that provision would have much impact on British law if ever it came to be interpreted in British law. The significance ought to be expressed.
In the final version of the treaty (even though there is no indication that the preamble was discussed prior to 10th December) those words are carried forward into the preamble as well. It is the third time that the point is emphasised. It says:
RESOLVED to implement a common foreign and security policy including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence".
That is the third time that the phrases appear in the treaty.
§ I seek information. Indeed, I am anxious to know why it is necessary to repeat three times those almost identical words. It sounds like a triple whammy; or "game, set and match", as the Prime Minister put it on his return. It is the more remarkable in view of the fact that, as I quoted, it is now included in the preamble.
The Prime Minister had some observations to make about matters that appear in preambles. I ask the noble and learned Lord whether he agrees with what the Prime Minister said on 2nd November 1992. In The Times of Tuesday, 3rd November 1992 appears the following report:
Describing himself as the biggest Euro-sceptic in the Cabinet"—
I am very glad to welcome him to the happy band—
the Prime Minister reassured loyalists and waverers about British sovereignty and warned them not to be put off by 'Euro-waffle' in the Maastricht Treaty preamble which had 'no legal force whatsoever"'.
That is contrary to advice that we have received so far with regard to the preambles. Indeed, in the interpretation of the law as applied by the European Court, both the preambles and the accompanying recitals have quite a significance in interpreting these matters. Why are those words stated three times? Why should there be a provision for something which might lead to a future event? Why should something be incorporated into the preamble which, according to the Prime Minister, is Euro-waffle and has no legal force? I beg to move.
§ Lord Cockfield
The noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, desired to know why that phrase was stated three times. Presumably it follows the principle laid down by the bellman in The Hunting of the Snark: I say it once, I say it twice, I say it thrice: it must be true.
It should be remembered that we are dealing with a preamble to the treaty. To put the matter crudely, the preamble comes clean; in other words, it states that the common defence policy might, in time, lead to a common defence.
If the draftsmen of the treaty had followed the view of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, and had said nothing, the noble Lord would be the first to complain that the matter had been kept secret and that he had not been told. Now that the noble Lord has been told, he has nothing to complain about.
§ Lord Butterfield
I am a great admirer of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington. I listened with great admiration to his recent speech about the shape of our society.
Last Friday at St. Thomas' Hospital, just over the river, we were very privileged to hear a lecture by the noble Lord, Lord Owen about the situation in Bosnia. He made clear beyond doubt that he was very anxious that the European Community should have an organisation which, through NATO, could show miscreants who are concerned with ethnic cleansing and matters of that kind that there was a possibility of a European force. He hoped that that force would consist of volunteers. Volunteers could serve for a period of up to five years for a force which would be ethical and would stand up for what all noble Lords believe in: namely, a just means of defending those who need help and who are being attacked by gunmen.
§ The Earl of Onslow
When the Bosnian crisis broke out, Mr. Poos stated, "Now is the time of Europe". I can conceive of no greater damage to the cause of Europe than the chaotic and hopeless result of foreign policy initiatives that has occurred in Bosnia. Unless we get it right, there is no point in doing it all. We have got the matter so hopelessly and completely wrong that it would be better not to do it. We end up by making fools of ourselves.
If ideas of common defence are put into treaties on the offchance that the matter might arise, it is a waste of time and hot air.
I am a great advocate of co-operation. Military and foreign affairs co-operation has worked without the need for treaties. The Gulf War was a perfect example of great co-operation. No treaty was involved. There was no preamble and no pontification by Mr. Poos. There was a failure to sell ammunition by the Belgians to ourselves, for which they have since apologised and there was a notable absence of the German general staff. Co-operation in defence and foreign affairs can be achieved on a very sound, ad hoc basis, as has been proved. If we try to tackle something like Bosnia, we get ourselves into a ghastly and awful muddle, which is self-evident.
Lord Belhaven and Stenton
The noble Lord, Lord Butterfield, spoke about a European force and the hope that it would be formed by volunteers. I am moved to ask whether that force might also be formed of conscripts, in accordance with the duties of citizenship, as dealt with in Amendment No. 2. Under what flag would that so-called force, which might intervene in the future of Bosnia, operate?
§ Lord Stewartby
I take modest comfort from the inclusion of those words because they are in contrast to the way in which the first objective deals with economic and monetary union, ultimately including a single currency, which is a commitment for those who have signed up to it.
I would be extremely uncomfortable if a common defence were to be included in the second of the objectives. However, the contrast between the first of the objectives, where the ultimate objective is spelt out specifically, and the second objective, where the matter is left open only as a possibility, gives me some comfort. There is a conscious distinction between the two.
In practical terms, it would be extremely difficult for the Community to frame a common defence policy, let alone to organise a common defence. That view has been reinforced by recent events. Nevertheless, the fact that a common defence is only here mentioned as a possibility, puts it into a different category from the approach to defence policy as a whole, as embodied in the treaty. I find that that fact is an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, has rightly drawn the Committee's attention to the effectiveness of the excellent ad hoc co-operation between countries at the time of the Gulf War.
The noble Lord, Lord Belhaven and Stenton, has drawn our intention to the inherent nonsense of an 11 language common defence force. That figure may be greater because the Irish give commands in Irish, which is not an official EC language; and countries like Finland may join, which would further complicate matters.
I should like to support the amendment, to which have added my name, for other reasons. What does the curious phrase "reinforcing the European identity" mean? Everybody who is born and bred in Europe has a European identity. Why is it necessary to state the obvious by repeating those words? Do those words reflect the habitual arrogance of the Eurocrats who hold that Europe equates to the EC and that the EC equates to Europe, and that the Swiss, Norwegians, Poles, Czechs, and so on, are not really Europeans and therefore should not be considered to be part of the European identity; or is it more subtle? It may be a device to encourage people to think of themselves first and foremost as citizens of the European Union and less and less as citizens of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, etc.
The noble Lord, Lord Ewing, when speaking to the last amendment, said he wants to be a citizen of a wider Europe. What is that but nationalism on a larger scale? Who would one be combining against? Would it be against resurgent Islam (and there are 286 people in Europe who wish to do so) or against the Japanese or the Americans? Protectionist French industrialists often sound as though they would like to go to war with one or other of those countries, or even with the New Zealanders, who have the temerity to shelter that deadly naval vessel "Rainbow Warrior" in their waters.
If a common defence policy existed, what would the position be if the Falklands were to be invaded once more? Would we be in a position 10 liberate the Falklands? Supposing our defence partners—the Spanish or Italians—objected to that, or our forces were engaged side by side with the Greeks fighting the Turks in the Aegean, which is another almost certain outcome of a common defence policy.
Those are worries which cannot lightly be wished away. It will be interesting to hear, although we will be. speaking of defence in greater depth later, what would have been the position in the Falklands if the Maastricht Treaty had been in force at the beginning of 1982.
§ 7 p.m.
§ Baroness Park of Monmouth
The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs took extensive evidence on the foreign affairs implications of the defence pillar. I find it a matter of great concern and amazement that the Select Committee on Defence has not, as I understand, taken any evidence from the Ministry of Defence on the implications for our defence policies and resources of the eventual forming of a common defence policy, still less the practicality of the proposals for WEU's new role in the Community.
The Select Committee on Home Affairs has taken evidence. I wonder why it has not been thought necessary to take evidence from the professional view of those responsible for our defence. Is it yet another example of the acceptance of commitments without any detailed and realistic consideration of the resources available? I find it extraordinary that there has been no Select Committee consideration of what the mandatory move towards a common defence policy will mean.
Full evidence was taken on the political implications of the interlocking responsibility of the WEU, which has no forces of its own, the CSCE which also has none, and NATO; but none on where the troops are to come from and what will have to give way for British forces to be available for the Community. The Memorandum in the Bill of course makes it clear that the Bill does not cover co-operation in the sphere of foreign and security policy because they do not give rise to Community rights and obligations at this stage. That is true today, but under Article J.4.6 of the treaty a report on the success achieved in furthering its objectives—in this case a move eventually to a common defence—is required by 1996. It may well be brought forward by the Belgian presidency.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament, whose powers have been increased significantly by the treaty, has passed by a large majority a resolution that it must have considerably enhanced control over foreign and security policy. On 4th June NATO decided that the 287 alliance could undertake peacekeeping under the CSCE or the UN. According to the FCO memorandum to the Select Committee,As the WEU develops, the European members of the Alliance will, we hope, be able to make a more effective and coherent contribution to common security and defence".What are the implications for this country of all those commitments in terms of men and resources? If we had another Bosnia today, where would we find the troops? We have had no debate on defence in this House for many months, and such a debate might expose only too clearly that we still do not have the resources to fulfil our commitments. In my view it is specious to argue that we can only influence events in Europe by being inside it, if in fact we still have nothing to put in the pot—no military muscle with which to exert that influence in the defence field. Indeed, I wonder whether we even have the resources to send a proper military staff to those new WEU/CSCE/NATO offices in Brussels. But perhaps we are expecting the other members, especially the non-belligerents, to supply the staff which will make the plans.
I shall find it easier to be convinced that we know what we are doing if I can feel that the professionals, who will have to make the defence policy work while fully protecting our national interest, have had their views heard by the country and their concerns registered. The pillar which Maastricht created may be intended to protect our independence of action. But I am deeply concerned lest we fail to face, and face openly, the consequences in terms of resources. We ought not to commit the services to do the impossible so that we may be perceived as being good Europeans.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
I have listened to other Members of the Committee talking to Amendment No. 3. Although at this stage I do not want to go deeply into the matter it contains, nevertheless I should perhaps reinforce what was said, particularly by the noble Lord, Lord Monson, regarding the reference to reinforcing the European identity.
I cannot understand why, in the preamble, we should say,including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence, thereby reinforcing the European identity".It is not good enough to say that we need a defence policy which will reinforce the European identity. After all, we need alliances outside Europe and we need to make them by bilateral means. I would hate to think that under the preamble we were taking away our right to make bilateral arrangements with other countries.
In Europe, together with the United States, we have had an adequate defence policy which has lasted a long period of time. Indeed, I suggest it has done far more than the EC—perhaps it is the only thing—to keep the peace in Europe. People refer to the European Community as having kept the peace in Europe. It has done nothing of the sort. NATO was established in 1949 and it is NATO, presumably with the umbrella of the enormous fire power and forces of 288 the United States, which has kept the peace in Europe. Anything that would undermine that would worry me considerably.
I hope that the noble Baroness will be able to tell me exactly what those words mean,thereby reinforcing the European identity",and give me and the country an assurance that it will in no way undermine the defence arrangements through NATO whereby we continue to have the support and protection of the United States in Europe.
Lord Thompson of Monifieth
On the previous amendment on citizenship I maintained a trappist silence in the face of some provocation and, I am glad to say, some flattery in terms of quoting remarks I had made previously. I should say from these Benches that, since we wish to see the Maastricht Treaty ratified as quickly as possible, consistent with reasonable debate, we do not wish to take up time in general. However, on defence it is important to put on record the position of the Liberal Democrats on these Benches.
I should have thought that the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, could have taken some comfort out of the rather curious language of the preamble which he inserts into his amendment. For our part, we regard Title V of the Maastricht Treaty as certainly a step in the right direction. But for us it is not the decisive leap forward for which we were hoping and which we believe is still necessary for an effective European presence on the world stage.
One of the greatest weaknesses of the current arrangements is the lack of any effective co-ordinated military muscle on the part of the European nations that form the European Community. The provisions of the Maastricht Treaty fall well short of the goal of a common defence policy. The Henry Kissinger remark from the past of, "When I want to speak to Europe, who do I 'phone?" is as true today as it was when he made it. We on these Benches have come to the opposite conclusion to one or two of the Members of the Committee who have spoken of the present tragic situation in Bosnia. It seems to us that that reflects the lack of a coherent position on the part of the European Community that would enable them to have an effective foreign policy and, arising out of that, make an effective defence contribution to the maintenance of peace.
There are divisions among members of the European Community; some are more Atlanticist than others, for example the French. The final outcome has been a compromise. The so-called double-hatting of the WEU means that that organisation has become the defence arm of the Community while operating within the NATO framework. For our part, we welcome this arrangement as a short-term solution but feel that it needs to proceed further. In the long term there is a need to develop a fully-fledged Community defence identity.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
I had not intended to intervene but for reasons that the Whips will understand perhaps my intervention will not be totally unwelcome. My view on all of these matters has 289 always been that eventually all armed forces throughout the world will wear red berets. I mean blue berets—and preferably blue berets rather than blue helmets. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, that the intervention of Europe in Bosnia, despite the valiant efforts of the noble Lord, Lord Owen, has been very seriously weakened by the lack of any structure and the confusion of responsibilities as between NATO, the Western European Union and the European Community. As a personal view, I wish much of that to be resolved by greater powers being given to the United Nations rather than to any of those three organisations. On the other hand, if any of the provisions in the preamble to the treaty as drafted are to be adopted—although they do not come into the Bill—I hope that they will be adopted in the spirit of seeking to simplify the lines of command rather than complicate them.
§ Baroness Elles
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Does he agree that the situation in Bosnia cannot be resolved by any group of nations outside and that it must be for the people of the former Yugoslavia to resolve their internal problems? Should we not be paying great tribute to the British and French forces who have gone there under the blue beret in order to bring humanitarian aid to that part of the world and have saved so many thousands of lives?
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
I shall refrain from commenting on the wider issue of Bosnia because we are debating in Committee the European Communities (Amendment) Bill. Without referring to the noble Baroness, I think it would be better if we were more disciplined than we were in the previous debate.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
I believe that my response to this debate falls into three sections. I should like, first, to deal with the probing questions of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington. He inquired about these matters last year by manner of Written Questions to my noble friend Lord Caithness. Quite correctly, he raised the difference in wording on defence in the common provisions between the earlier draft and the final version of the treaty. This was not a substantive point during the Maastricht negotiations. The change was one of a number of minor adjustments that were made to achieve the internal consistency of the wording of various provisions of the treaty. There is no significance in the change that has been highlighted by the noble Lord. However, for the interest of other noble Lords in the Chamber perhaps I may say that my noble friend Lord Caithness also gave a Written An3wer recorded in the Official Report on 24th February 1992 (at col. WA!). He repeated the same answer on 91.h March 1992 (at col. WA41) to a similar question on the changes and why they were made. Obviously that has not satisfied the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, since in 1993 he returns to the charge—and not for the first occasion.
So that there is no doubt whatsoever about it, perhaps I may identify what has happened. The 290 Treaty on European Union was agreed at Maastricht on the 9th and 10th December 1991. The first post-Maastricht text was received in this country on Friday, 13th December 1991. Copies were sent to Parliament on Monday, 16th December. That text contained no preamble and referred in Article B of the common provisions to the following union objective,to assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and security policy which shall include the eventual framing of a common defence policy".The text was sent to the jurists for tidying up to ensure consistency between the provisions of the new treaty and to agree minor technical alterations where it was unanimously agreed that clarification was needed in order effectively to represent the intentions of the heads of government at Maastricht.
The treaty signed on 7th February was received in its post-signature text form in this country on 14th February 1992, and copies were delivered to Parliament on Monday, 17th February. In that text the above reference in Article B of the common provisions had been changed to read:to assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and security policy including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence".That brought Article B of the common provisions into line with the corresponding article in the CFSP chapter, Article J.4.1, which had been listed as Article D.1 in the 13th December 1991 text. That text: remained unchanged. The preamble was added to the February text and stuck to the J.4.1 formula, including the words,the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence".What has happened is that all three references have been made in similar form. That is what I believe to be important. The noble Lord, Lord Bruce, asks: why three times? I do not believe this to be so strange, although I do not have The Hunting of the Shark to refer to. It is fairly clear in the treaty as a whole that citizenship, economic and monetary union and other matters are also covered three times. They are summarised in the preamble and listed in the common provisions before being covered in detail in the separate chapters, of which Title V (covering CFSP) is the relevant one in this case. I believe that that makes clear why it has been done and that it is consistent. I am sure that the noble Lord would be one of the first to jump up to tell me if some part of it is inconsistent.
Lord Bruce of Donington
I am grateful to the noble Baroness for the explanation that she has so kindly given. But she omitted to say who had added the preamble. She did not say whether, in view of the fact that it was incorporated in the preamble, she agreed or disagreed with the Prime Minister's description of the Maastricht Treaty preamble as a lot of Euro-waffle.
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
The noble Lord anticipates my next paragraph. I was just coming to that. He must be a little patient since he and his colleagues have taken time to put this matter. The Prime Minister was undoubtedly referring to the fact that the preamble did not create any legal rights or 291 obligations. It does not. If I examine the aspects of Amendment No. 3 moved by the noble Lord, the preamble is an integral part of the treaty but it neither creates obligations nor confers rights. As the noble Lord is aware, it recites the purpose of the treaty and the background against which agreement is reached, just as the preambles to the Single European Act and the Treaty of Rome do.
Much of the language in the preamble is obviously taken from previous preambles, or indeed quotes from the treaty itself. But when my right honourable friend the Prime Minister talked of the preamble he was putting the preamble in the treaty's context. A preamble can be used if necessary to aid the interpretation, but since on this point the preamble merely uses exactly the same words as the treaty, it is hard to see that it was necessary. But it is there; it is consistent. And I am glad that it is consistent, as otherwise we would have yet another reason for debate.
Amendments Nos. 3 and 7 are not necessary. The eventual framing of the phrase in the preamble which, as I mentioned some moments ago, is repeated in Article J.4 of the treaty is a point which a number of Members of the Committee have taken up in this short debate. I would say to all of those who mentioned the very vexed and tragic situation in the former Yugoslavia that I do not believe that these two amendments are the right place in regard to which to debate Bosnia. I am quite prepared to talk about it at the right moment, but I do not want to take up the time of the Committee. However, it would be right just to say to all those who have commented why I believe that this is a sensible move, as my noble friend Lord Stewartby, mentioned. It is, as he said, tentative. It can be no more than tentative because of the way in which Article J in Title V of the treaty is dealt with.
The noble Lord, Lord Butterfield, referred to the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Owen, and to the ideas that he has for the future. That may come about, but it will come about only with unanimity not simply in the Community but far wider. Certainly, nothing that comes up in these amendments or indeed in the treaty, let alone in the Bill, commits us to the path about which the noble Lord, Lord Owen, was speaking last week.
My noble friend Lord Onslow emphasised the need to get any common defence policy right. With regard to joining with fellow nations, we went into the Gulf War after long and detailed discussions with the United Nations as well as with our allies in NATO. Some of our allies in NATO are also our partners in Europe. What is certainly happening is that there is a coming together of views, not always identical, within Europe.
What is vitally important is that we realise that issues with defence implications, which is what a number of Members of the Committee have referred to, will not be subject to joint action procedures. This is covered under Article J.4.3. The Maastricht Treaty makes it absolutely clear under the common foreign and security policy that it is the Western European 292 Union, not the twelve, which will be responsible for elaborating and implementing decisions with defence implications.
I can assure the Committee that nothing in the Maastricht Treaty would compel the UK to commit forces to military action against our will. Nor does anything in the treaty, or indeed in the Bill, stop us from taking our own national action if that is what is needed. In referring to the Falklands, although many other nations supported us, we took our own decision after consulting with other nations. That would still be the case under the Bill when it becomes an Act, and under the Maastricht Treaty.
§ The Earl of Onslow
I hope that my noble friend will forgive me if I pop up again. She said that there was a coming together of European views. How does this take into account the German constitutional point that German troops are not allowed to serve abroad and the built-in neutrality of the Irish Republic, together with the future guaranteed built-in neutrality of Austria, Sweden and Finland, the new applicants to the European Community?
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
I would love to go into considerable detail and answer my noble friend, but I do not believe that Amendments Nos. 3 and 7 are the place to do it. We shall have a substantive debate on common foreign and security policy under Title V of the Treaty. I shall do my best to answer questions that are put in the debates today and those put at other stages when we reach that point.
My noble friend Lord Belhaven and Stenton asked about conscripts and volunteers. We have made it absolutely clear that in our armed forces we want good, sound volunteers. No one is going to force us back to conscription. Nor are other countries hoping that they will proceed with conscription for very much longer. But that is a matter for their national decision. Nothing in the Bill will force us to go down the path to which my noble friend was referring.
The noble Lord, Lord Monson, in speaking to the amendments which he tabled, was really objecting to European identity as much as anything. That disquiet underlay what he was saying. I have already answered his point about the Falklands. Perhaps I may say to him that this country will not give up the need for independent action if that is needed. But in this very complicated and complex world we are a good deal better to go with allies into some conflicts than we are to go alone. Those allies will be our NATO allies and our allies in the Western European Union. I really do not think that the fears expressed by the noble Lord today and on other occasions are with foundation. I believe that they are without foundation. We will be fully able to protect our position and that of our defence forces and to take our own decisions.
My noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth made some other comments about common defence policy which, I believe, are better taken up in the main debate on common foreign and security policy.
The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, talked about alliances. I understand well what he means by that. The point about our policy through NATO or through the Western European Union is that we are 293 not limited to taking a decision simply with our partners in NATO or simply with our partners in the Western European Union. Sometimes we take our decisions in collaboration with two out of a number of those partners in NATO or the WEU and we shall continue to do so. There is no way in which the words that are the subject of Amendment No. 3 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, or indeed of Amendment No. 7 which is taken with it, force us to have only alliances with the European Community if in time the European Community were to decide to have some common defence policy.
The noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, is right that we have not yet taken a great leap forward. I do not believe that the time is yet right to take that great leap forward. Therefore, while he may be disappointed by some of the content of the treaty, I believe that this phraseology which was debated long and hard by European colleagues in Maastricht is the right way to go. It is laying a foundation but it does not force us to take a certain direction. What it does is to make sure that we go on considering this, as surely we must if we are to continue to preserve the peace in Europe and to try to help the people of the former Yugoslavia also to find a peace. No one could be more conscious of that than I.
The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, rightly said that he hoped that there would be "blue berets" rather than "blue helmets"—and we understand why he put it as he did. I believe that the sooner that we are able to make all our United Nations troops "blue beret" troops rather than "blue helmet" troops, the better it will be; but that will come about only when the United Nations has been able to carry out its mandate in many places, such as Somalia, and actually disarm the warring factions. That is one of the hardest things to do in today's world.
My noble friend Lady Elles spoke of the co-operation between and excellent working together of the British and French forces. I say to her, yes, that is so: but we have also had excellent co-operation with Spanish and other European forces. The co-operation has not only been between the British and the French although they have taken most of the headlines.
After my explanations in answer to his specific questions, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, will not press the amendment. However, should he decide to do so, I must advise my noble friends that his amendment should be rejected.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Lord Tebbit
Before my noble friend sits down, may I say to her that I found her reply somewhat disappointing? It did not deal with the points that had been raised. Therefore, she will understand if I say that I shall want to take up these matters with her after the adjournment for Dinner, but that I do not wish to speak now in the Dinner adjournment—
§ Lord Tebbit
I am sorry, this is a Committee stage, I understand (if I am correctly informed about the procedures on Committee in this House) that noble Lords may speak after the Minister if they are not 294 satisfied with the reply. I just wanted to let my noble friend know that I shall be doing that after Dinner in order that she does not think that the debate has finished.
§ Baroness Trumpington
I do not think that the noble Lord is exactly right. I think that we have to bring the debate on this amendment to a conclusion before I adjourn the House during pleasure.
That is quite wrong. The procedure in Committee is quite clear. There is no reason at all why noble Lords who have not spoken, or indeed who have spoken many times previously, cannot speak to this amendment. It is up to the Government at 7.30 p.m. to move the Motion that the House be now resumed as they said that they were going to. There is no reason at all why noble Lords should not rebut the Government's position if they so wish.
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
I had already sat down and was not intending to detain your Lordships any longer, but I wanted to answer in full the points that had been put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, which I hope that he feels that li did. From watching his face carefully, I think that he was reasonably satisfied. It may be that, because some of the points raised by my noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth and others were not fully answered because they went far wide of Amendments Nos. 3 and 7, the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, is not satisfied. I get quite used to the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, not being satisfied. I do not think that anything that I say in this debate will ever satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, so we might as well get used to the idea that the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, is not going to stand by the agreement, which I understand has been made, that we should proceed in an orderly manner.
This was an amendment for information, and I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, was satisfied. If the noble Lord was satisfied, I am sure that he will now tell your Lordships and perhaps the arrangements which I understood had been agreed upon can be proceeded with, but I am not an expert in these matters. I am a new girl in the House, and and I give way to the better knowledge of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce.
Lord Bruce of Donington
I have no means at my disposal in my position on the Back-Benches to instruct or to do anything to anybody other than speak for myself. Therefore, I cannot speak for the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit or for that matter for the noble Lord, Lord Morris. From my point of view—and I must say that it is only from my point of view—I accept the answers which have been given to me by the noble Baroness, which was the purpose of moving the amendment. I thank her for them. However, I reserve the right to return once again to her curious difference with the Prime Minister as to what 295 constitutes Euro-waffle and what does not. I may be constrained to return to that at a later stage; but, in the meantime, and subject to the approval of my noble friends and the Committee, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Baroness Trumpington
I beg to move that the House be now resumed. I suggest that the Committee stage begin again at 8.30 p.m.
Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.