Her Majesty the Queen announced on 25 May 2010 that her Government will introduce legislation to ensure that in future, Parliament and British people will have their say on any proposed transfer of powers from the UK to the European Union.
The aim of the legislation is to increase democratic and Parliamentary control, scrutiny and accountability over EU decision making. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is leading on preparation of the legislation.
Amongst other elements, the legislation will mean that any proposed future EU Treaty that transfers competences or areas of power from the UK to the EU will be subject to a referendum.
Discussing the announcement in HM Queen’s speech, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“This Government will be a positive, active and energetic player in the European Union. We will champion vigorously Britain’s interests in the European Union and we will work to make the European Union a success, concentrating its efforts on the shared challenges faced by the nations of Europe today.
“Support for the European Union in Britain has fallen in the past thirteen years, so we will increase the public’s and Parliament’s control over the Government’s European activity. The Bill on the European Union will ensure that any proposed future EU Treaty that transfers areas of power from Britain to the EU will be subject to a referendum: a referendum lock to which only the British people will hold the key. This will also cover joining the euro.
“The new ratchet clauses will also require full parliamentary approval before they can be used and major ratchet clauses will be subject to a referendum.
“These measures will substantially improve democratic control, scrutiny and accountability over EU decision making.”