Either we stand alone if we cannot agree with the other member states or we can

Either we stand alone if we cannot agree with the

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Either we stand alone if we cannot agree with the other member states, or we can agree with them and have more leverage and more power in the world. The hon. Gentleman and the Committee are right: that is significant—it is of significant benefit to the UK. Sammy Wilson: Here is the other myth that is being spread around—that all the decisions will be made on a basis of unanimity. There are 11 areas in which a qualified majority vote will be sufficient. Indeed, the very leverage to which the hon. Gentleman refers has been severely weakened. Let me take another example, which was given by the Foreign Secretary. On the environment, he said that a scare story was going around that the EU, at a time of 11 Mar 2008 : Column 226 crisis, would redirect gas and so on from the UK to other parts of the EU. New article 122 states: “Without prejudice to any other procedures provided for in the Treaties, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may decide, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, upon the measures appropriate to the economic situation, in particular if severe difficulties arise in the supply of certain products, notably in the area of energy.” To me, that leaves open the possibility of redirecting energy around the EU in severe situations. Rob Marris: The hon. Gentleman read out paragraph 1 of the article. Paragraph 2 says: “Where a Member State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may grant, under certain conditions, Union financial assistance to the Member State concerned. The President of the Council shall inform the European Parliament of the decision taken.” It specifically says “financial assistance”. It does not talk about commandeering supplies. He has to read both bits. Sammy Wilson: The other term that the hon. Gentleman ignores is “measures appropriate”. Had it been simply financial measures, it would specify financial measures, but it does not. It is ambiguous. One of the first times that I was politically involved in something was around the time of the referendum on entering the EU and the renegotiations. At that time, people were accused of scaremongering when they said that when we gave fishing policy over to the EU, it could devastate the local fishing industry. We were told that the ambiguous wording in the treaty was being misinterpreted. We now have a devastated fishing industry.
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Angus Robertson: The hon. Gentleman is making a powerful case about fishing. Will he confirm that there are communities in Northern Ireland—as there are in Scotland and in England—whose fishing industries have been devastated by the common fisheries policy, in contrast to those in Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which are not subject to the common fisheries policy? For those who care about the future of Northern Ireland and Scotland, that should be reason enough to vote against the treaty tonight.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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