HL Deb 25 June 1997 vol 580 c165WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What approach they intend to adopt at the Intergovernmental Conference in Amsterdam on 16 and 17 June as regards: (a) the protection of fundamental rights; (b) the place which social rights should have in the Treaty on European Union or in the preamble; (c) the penalties to be applied to states which fail to respect fundamental rights and democracy; and (d) the powers of the Union to take measures to combat discrimination in general and to promote equality between men and women.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Intergovernmental Conference in Amsterdam agreed Treaty amendments including the following:

  1. (a) an amendment to Article F.1 strengthening the Union's role as a guarantor of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, liberty and the rule of law; and a new role for the European Court of Justice (ECJ), giving it explicit jurisdiction over fundamental rights with regard to the acts of the institutions in so far as the ECJ has jurisdiction under the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) and Title VI of the Treaty on European Union (TEU);
  2. (b) a new paragraph in the preamble to the TEU on social rights as defined by the European Social Charter and the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers. Social Agreement provisions were also incorporated into the TEC;
  3. (c) a new article providing for suspension of rights of a new member state which breaches fundamental rights;
  4. (d) new articles allowing the Community to take action to combat discrimination and to promote equality between men and women.