HL Deb 17 December 2001 vol 630 c10WA
Lord Pearson of Rannoch

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are aware of any proposals which might lead to the European Union acquiring legal personality; and, if so, what is their response to such proposals. [HL1953]

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

Article 24 of the Treaty of the European Union (added by the Treaty of Amsterdam) gives the Council of the European Union the capacity to conclude international agreements in areas covered by the Common Foreign and Security Policy (Title V TEU) and Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (Title VI TEU) when it is necessary to enter into such agreements to implement those titles.

This is a very limited form of legal personality for the European Union to conclude international agreements for these specific purposes. It is not the overarching, explicit legal personality which some others have advocated and which the Prime Minister successfully resisted at Amsterdam.

Various proposals for amending the EU treaties have been made in the current debate on the Future of Europe. More are likely in the run up to the 2004 Intergovernmental Conference. Decisions remain a matter for member states at the IGC.

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