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21-03-2012

Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament votes to accept text to incorporate legally binding Protocol in the EU Treaties on the concerns of the Irish people on the Lisbon Treaty

Two important votes took place yesterday 20 March in the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the Parliament, both related to the 2009 European Council Decision on the concerns of the Irish people on the Lisbon Treaty on the right to life, family and education, taxation, and security and defence. It was also agreed on the same occasion that this Decision, intended to reassure Ireland about some of the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty, would later be incorporated in a Protocol to the EU Treaties, and would thus have legally binding status.

A draft Protocol to implement this decision was submitted in 2011, and the European Parliament was consulted on the question as to whether the European Council should decide to examine the proposed draft. The matter was then referred  to the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. Inigo Mendez de Vigo (Spain, EPP) was appointed as rapporteur, but he then became Minister for European Affairs in the new Spanish Government, and was replaced by Paolo Rangel (Portugal EPP). The latter's draft report was adopted in committee on 20 March by a vote of 19 in favour to 2 against with 2 abstentions. The committee recommends that Parliament agree with a European Council decision in favour of examining the proposed amendments to the Treaty.  

At the same time the Committee, again on a  recommendation from rapporteur Paul Rangel, voted to support the proposal not to convene an EU Convention to adopt the Protocol . This means that the necessary intergovernmental conference can be convened right away, thus helping to accelerate the adoption of the draft protocol.

Both of these texts will now be submitted to the full Parliament, for final decision by the European Parliament plenary in April 2012.