Open Europe informs us that Europe Minister Caroline Flint admits she has not read the Lisbon Treaty
During questions yesterday in Parliament, Europe Minister Caroline Flint admitted that she had not read the Lisbon Treaty in its entirety.
Following a series of vague answers on the implications of the Treaty for European defence, Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois asked, “Has the Minister read the elements of the Lisbon Treaty that relate to defence?”. Ms. Flint replied, “I have read some of it but not all of it.” She went on to say: “I have been briefed on some of it.”
As well as leading calls for the Treaty to be ratified, back in December, Caroline Flint claimed that the Irish voted ‘no’ due to “misunderstanding” of the Treaty.
In a press release, Mark Francois responded saying, “It’s wonderfully honest of the Minister for Europe to admit that she hasn’t actually read the renamed EU Constitution. It’s not every day that someone will admit they haven’t read the most important document for their job. Her astonishing admission does leave some questions. How does she know if the Treaty’s good for Britain if she hasn’t read it? How could she lecture the Irish that they’d only rejected the Lisbon Treaty because they didn’t understand it?”
Parliamentary Committee debate
Later there was another interesting point raised under; what legal, treaty basis was the European Defence Agency set up? The Minster for Europe did not even know that! which is surprising considering Britain is a member.
In fact the EDA will be set up by the Lisbon treaty, if it is ratified not by the Nice Treaty as the minister claimed.
So we are member of the European Defence Agency which has no legal basis, so much for those who try to argue the unification of the EU is stalled and nothing has happened since Maastricht! far from it as it is moving forward so fast it is even outpacing the legal power of the treaties.
Mr. Francois: The documents refer on a number of occasions to the European Defence Agency, which has already been set up. What is the legal, treaty basis under which it was created?
Caroline Flint: I will seek to answer that point shortly.
Mr. Francois: The EDA is referred to a number of times. What lies behind the question is some controversy about the fact that the EDA was set up without a formal treaty base. Can the Minister explain the Government’s position on that?
Caroline Flint: Clearly, our support for the EU security defence policy is not about supporting a European army but about providing support where we can collectively come together and have an impact on security and defence issues. To that end, we support the activities we have undertaken with the European Union and would seek to do more. We do not see that as being in conflict with anything we might do nationally, so we do not see the problems that the hon. Gentleman seems to be suggesting in relation to some of the structures and other elements that have been set up but are not operational. Operation stays with member states when they take part. Strategically, they need to have better planning and coherent submissions that we undertake and take part in.
Mr. Francois: There is a lesson for the Minister here. If she is going to come before a Committee, she should do her homework. After all that boilerplate, can she just tell us under what basis this organisation of which Britain is now a member was created?
Caroline Flint: I think it is the Nice treaty that we work under, in terms of the European Union. If we go to Lisbon, we will be under the Lisbon treaty. That is the treaty that is being reformed and amended. That is how the EU operates.
Mr. Francois: The Minister is quite right that the Lisbon treaty—which I have read—formally constitutes the European Defence Agency, but is she saying that the EDA was constituted under the treaty of Nice, because I am not sure that that is correct?
Caroline Flint: I will verify that fact for the hon. Gentleman.