About now in Committee Room 2 our representatives have reached this item on the Agenda:
European Union Affairs CR2, LH 2000 12 noon (T) AGENDA: The Accession Treaty of the Republic of Croatia and its subsequent ratification [Mr. Neven Mimica, Chairman of the European Integration Committee of the Croatian Parliament]
Here is a blast from the past when we were all assured of the wonderful things that would be contained in a Protocol at this point:
17 June 2009
H.E Mr Gordon Brown
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to you in strictest confidence ahead of tomorrow's European Council on the important subject of the legal guarantees promised to Ireland in December which my Government needs in order to be able to go back to the Irish people and seek their approval in a referendum to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.
I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation for the constructive engagement we have had with all of our partners in recent weeks on the texts of the guarantees. I believe we are now very close to full agreement on their context.
The second and crucial aspect of the guarantees is their precise legal form. I appreciate that the intention tomorrow is to adopt a Decision of the Heads of State and Government meeting within the European Council.
However, in order to provide the maximum possible legal reassurance to the Irish people, I need to be able to come out of our meeting and state, without fear of contradiction, that the legal guarantees contained in the Decision will, in time, acquire full Treaty status by way of a Protocol.
I recognise that it will not be possible to adopt this protocol before the Lisbon Treaty enters into force, as many Member States have made clear they cannot countenance having to reopen the Lisbon Treaty ratification process. However, what I do require is a clear and unequivocal commitment that, at a future point after the Lisbon Treaty enters into force, the legal guarantees contained in the Decision will be attached to the EU treaties by way of a Protocol.
This is entirely in line with my understanding of the agreement reached at our December meeting. At that time, I made very clear that I would require this Protocol. In our concluding session, the then President of the European Council spelt out the nature of the understanding we had reached.
Subsequently, in his Council press conference, and later when he addressed the European Parliament, the President was clear in his description of what had been agreed, including that the legal guarantees would be given Protocol status at a point after the entry into force if the Lisbon Treaty.
The media debate in Ireland is already focussed on the form of the legal guarantees, and you will appreciate the strong political imperative that I confirm at tomorrow's meeting the public understanding in Ireland f what was agreed last December.
I would therefore like to set out clearly what is, and is not, involved, in what I am seeking.
The Decision we adopt tomorrow will give legal guarantee that certain matters of concern to the Irish people will be unaffected by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The Decision will be in full conformity with the Lisbon Treaty. It will not require any Member State to re-ratify the Lisbon Treaty, or any element of it.
The Protocol which Ireland is seeking to have adopted at a later point will not be attached to the Lisbon Treaty, which will by then have entered into force, but to the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The sole purpose of this protocol will be to give Treaty force to the clarifications contained in the Decision, which are entirely in conformity with the Treaties. I want to emphasise sincerely, that this is necessary if I am to call, and win, a second referendum.
Our common goal is to secure the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. I am asking you to give me the help I need to realise this goal.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Brian Cowen TD
In strictest confidence: The Cowen letter
Recent press reports suggest some anxiety on the part of our current government about the fulfilment of those promises.
Anyone know the story?