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European Union (Amendment) Act 2008

Section 6: Parliamentary control of decisions

29.This section concerns certain provisions in the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union which enable the European Council or the Council to make decisions, the effect of which is to bring about changes in certain EU policies or changes in EU procedures for adopting legislation. The provisions concerned are listed in subsection (1).

30.The list comprises:

  • the two provisions for Simplified Revision procedures set out in Article 48 (6) and (7) of the TEU, as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Under Article 48(6), the European Council may, by unanimity, make a decision amending provisions of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (which deals with Union policies), but not so as to increase EU competences.  Such a decision will not come into force unless approved by all the Member States in accordance with their constitutional requirements.

Under Article 48(7), the European Council may, by unanimity, make a decision authorising the Council to act by Qualified Majority Voting in areas where Title V of the TEU or the TFEU provides for unanimity, or substitute the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision of the Council and the European Parliament) in areas where the TFEU provides for special legislative procedure. In either case, no such decision may be adopted if any national Parliament of a Member State makes known its opposition to the proposal for a decision

  • the other provisions of the Treaties under which a decision may be made authorising the Council to act by Qualified Majority Voting in place of unanimity in specified areas, or changing the procedure for the adoption of acts in specified areas to the ordinary legislative procedure in place of special legislative procedure.

31.The section provides that where any draft decision under the listed provisions comes before the European Council or the Council, the United Kingdom may not agree to the adoption of the decision, unless Parliamentary approval has first been given. That approval must be signified by the agreement of both Houses of Parliament to motions approving the Government’s intention to support the decision.

32.The section provides that a motion may include provision dispensing with the need for a further motion in respect of amendments to the draft decision.

Schedule: Changes of terminology

33.The Schedule, introduced by section 3(3), provides for changes in certain terminology used in the European Communities Act 1972 and the Interpretation Act 1978. Almost all the changes involve the substitution in expressions using the word “Community” or “Communities” of the expression “EU”. These substitutions reflect changes in terminology in the EU Treaties, mentioned in the note on section 3 above.

34.References to “the European Court” are substituted for references to “the European Court or any court attached thereto”, reflecting a change of nomenclature introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

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