Saturday, July 4, 2009

Irish guarantees "do not change the Lisbon Treaty" and are not legally-binding: Glenys Kinnock

The Irish Government have hailed, as an important victory, the agreement of the EU heads of state to give Ireland special guarantees in respect of the Lisbon Treaty however, according to British Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock the so called guarantees are not legally binding.

In a debate in the Lords yesterday, Glenys Kinnock confirmed that Ireland will be voting on exactly the same text of the Lisbon Treaty a second time around. She said: "Those guarantees do not change the Lisbon treaty; the European Council conclusions are very clear on them. The Lisbon treaty, as debated and decided by our Parliament, will not be changed and, on the basis of these guarantees, Ireland will proceed to have a second referendum in October." She added: "Nothing in the treaty will change and nothing in the guarantees will change the treaty as your Lordships agreed it."

When asked about the legal status of the 'guarantees', she confirmed that they will not be legally-binding until they are written into the EU treaties as a protocol, which will happen after the Irish referendum. She said: "My Lords, what we have in the guarantees will become binding in international law when the guarantees are translated into a protocol at the time of the next accession, which presumably will be when Croatia or Iceland comes in. Before that protocol can be ratified by the UK, Parliament must pass a Bill. As I said, Parliament will rightly have the final say."

During questions at the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee this morning,Foreign Secretary David Miliband confirmed that "Every head of state agrees that these guarantees do not change the Treaty."