Global Policy Forum

Britain Will ‘Have to Give Up Seat On UN’,


By Jane Merrick

Daily Mail
August 15, 2007

William Hague has described the latest EU changes as the 'thin end of the wedge' Britain will have to give up its seat on the UN Security Council, a leading European think-tank has warned. The Skeptika group says the fine print of the new EU treaty will force the surrender of a vital diplomatic power.

The Foreign Office claims it is a 'myth' that the UK will lose its seat to an EU representative. But Skeptika has uncovered a paragraph in the treaty, signed by Tony Blair in one of his last acts in office, which it says will eventually force the move. An excerpt quoted by Skeptika says the EU would take the place of Britain and France - the only two European states who are permanent members of the Security Council - in cases where it had set out a common position. These include the most urgent issues facing world leaders today, such as Russia's control of energy over Europe and the UN's role in Darfur. But Skeptika said there would be a "creeping agenda" which would cover situations such as Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Lee Rotherham of Skeptika said: "It's become increasingly clear that everything that was said about the new constitution has turned out to be a lie. "The new treaty makes clear that Britain will have to give up its seat on the Security Council on issues where the EU has taken a common position. This is an extraordinary surrender of national sovereignty." The Foreign Office insisted the UK would not lose its seat. It has listed on its website that this is one of "10 myths" about the constitution.

A spokesman said: "The UN Charter does not allow international organisations like the EU to hold a seat on the Security Council. "The EU High Representative and EU Presidency can already address the Security Council where it is invited to do so, on issues where there is a common EU position. "This is in addition to any individual national statements, e.g. from UK or France on a particular issue. The new EU Treaty does not change this mechanism. "Where the EU Member States agree on a particular issue, we have greater influence at Security Council if the EU speaks as one. "For example, in the first six months of 2007 the German Presidency of the EU spoke to the Security Council eight times. "The UK will continue to have our own seat at the UNSC table and will continue to speak with our own voice."

However, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has described the moves as "clearly the thin end of the wedge for an EU takeover of our only seat".

More Information on the Security Council
More Information on Security Council Membership Including Expansion and Representation
More Information on Security Council Reform


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