UK Politics

MPs to debate European fiscal treaty's 'legality'

The House of Commons is to debate whether the decision of most EU countries to agree to a treaty on greater fiscal unity is legal.

Conservative MP Bill Cash proposed the discussion, asking the government whether it intended to take the issue to the European Court of Justice.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was an "appropriate" subject for debate and no MP raise an objection.

The debate will last three hours and take place on Wednesday.

Last month, 25 EU states agreed the pact for stricter budget discipline.

The treaty, which its supporters say is necessary to deal with the emergency caused by the Greek debt crisis, is not EU-wide.

'Grave reservations'

Mr Cash and other Eurosceptic MPs argue it is therefore not within the law to use EU institutions to implement it. But the UK government has said it will not block the move.

In the Commons Mr Cash, chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, said: "The question of the legality of the treaty and whether the government intends to take them (the EU) to the European Court of Justice is a matter of great urgency, given the fact that other member states and their parliaments - such as the Bundestag yesterday - are deciding the issues in the ratification of this treaty."

He added: "The treaty makes use of certain institutions of the EU, in particular the European Commission and the European Court of Justice."

Mr Cash said the UK government had already expressed "grave reservations" about the legality of the document and these had to be discussed.

Mr Bercow replied: "I've listened carefully to the application from the honourable member and I'm satisfied that the matter raised is appropriate to be discussed. No objection has been voiced."

At a European summit last month only the UK and Czech Republic declined to join the fiscal treaty.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he still had "legal concerns" about the use of EU institutions in enforcing it.

On Tuesday the government of the Republic of Ireland announced it was planning to hold a referendum on the treaty.

More on this story