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European Union (Amendment) Act 2008

Section 5: Amendment of founding Treaties

25.This section concerns treaties which amend the founding EU Treaties – following the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, these will be the Treaty establishing the European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community.

26.The Treaty of Lisbon amends Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) concerning amendment of the Treaties so as to provide for an Ordinary revision procedure and Simplified revision procedures. (The Simplified Revision procedures, introduced by Article 48 (6) and (7) TEU as amended, are referred to in the Note on section 6 below.)

27.The Treaty of Lisbon amends the procedure in a number of respects. Proposals for amendments may be made by the European Parliament as well as by the Member States and the Commission as at present. It is expressly provided that amendments may serve, inter alia, to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the European Union. The proposals must be notified to the national Parliaments of the Member States. A decision to examine proposed amendments must be made by the European Council (rather than the Council as at present). The European Central Bank must be consulted in the case of proposed institutional changes in the monetary area. Generally, a Convention must be convened to examine the proposals before an inter-governmental conference is convened. Such a Convention is to be composed of representatives of the national Parliaments of the Member States, the heads of State or Government of the Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission. The European Council may decide not to convene a Convention where the nature of proposed Treaty amendments would not justify establishing one.

28.This section provides that, in future, every treaty agreed under the Ordinary revision procedure must be approved by an Act of Parliament before the United Kingdom may ratify it. Any increase in the competences of the EU will therefore be subject to prior Parliamentary approval.

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