Steve Peers Profile picture
Jan 21, 2019 23 tweets 10 min read
1/ Normally I do threads on official documents like legislation, or think tank papers, but today I have been asked to debunk viral online claims about the scary "Lisbon treaty 2022".

Tl;dr: it's bat****
2/ Here are the main claims being made. Different versions make different further claims; I will get back to them.

First, notice that there's no link to the Scary Lisbon Treaty 2020, or quotes from the text.
3/ The actual Lisbon treaty was signed in 2007 and came into force in 2009. There have been no major amendments since. It makes no reference to "2020" or "2022".
4/ As for no abstentions or vetoes, the words "unanimous" or "unanimity" appear in the Treaties as revised by the Lisbon treaty over 100 times. Vetoes are retained for issues like tax, accession of new Member States, and Treaty amendments, including removal of vetoes.
5/ Abstentions still exist too: under the foreign policy rules, in general for the European Council and the Council, and as regards possible sanctions for breach of the rule of law, etc.
6/ As for point 2, the Treaties use the word "federal" only when referring to the official name of Germany; and the CJEU Full Court has confirmed that the EU is not a State.
7/ Point 3: No obligation to join the single currency within two years. Rather there's a review every two years of whether the criteria to join are satisfied. UK has an opt out from the single currency.
8/ Point 4: the Treaties say nothing about moving stock exchanges.

Point 5: Primacy of EEC (now EU) law was established in 1960s CJEU case law. The Lisbon treaty says nothing new.
9/ Points 6 and 12: Abstentions and vetoes aren't abolished, as noted already. As well as the single currency opt out, the UK has opt outs from Schengen and justice and home affairs laws.
10/ Points 7-10: Common Commercial Policy & fisheries are long-established exclusive EU competences. Lisbon treaty extended exclusive competence to trade issues *besides* goods in 2009; that's different from the claim in the post.

Point 11: Member States decide oil & gas rights
11/ Point 13: unanimous voting on planning law.

Points 14, 17, 18 and 20: unanimous voting on foreign policy and defence. The Queen can still visit the "Commonwealths" without Juncker's approval.
12/ Point 15: see last tweet for unanimous voting on environmental tax. Here's all the other unanimous voting on tax.

When I mentioned this during the referendum campaign, I was called a Dunt. Stay classy, conspiracy theorists!
13/ The Commission has proposed extension of majority voting on tax and parts of foreign policy (human rights and sanctions). An "emergency brake" would still apply to the latter. But these changes would have to be approved unanimously. They don't happen automatically in 2022.
14/ Points 16, 19, 21 and 22: Variations of "tHe Uk wILl CeaSe to exISt". Give over. Anyway, the opt out from justice issues was mentioned already.
15/ Point 23: EU measures on space exclude harmonisation of national law

Point 24: Lisbon treaty changes nothing to do with transport
16/ Pause for illogical laughing at the space point, and basically everything else so far.

But this five year mission is nearly over...
17/ Points 25 and 26: UK contribution and rebates aren't set out in the Treaties, but the separate own resources decision. It can only be amended by unanimity with ratification of national parliaments.

Now on to the additional points in alternative versions of this drivel.
18/ In a Twitter thread version, it's claimed that the UK would lose its opt outs from the single currency and Schengen under the withdrawal agreement transition period.

Fact check says: pants on fire
19/ There's another version fully reproduced here, with extra wingnut claims at the end:…
20/ The state of this. Yeah, there will be an EU law requiring crime to increase 59% a year. What if people are too lazy to go out and increase crime by that much? Well, I guess they could make it a crime not to be a criminal...

Plus the anti-semicolonism here is offensive
21/ Sure because fines for every criminal offence except murder is on top of the legislative agenda.

(If this absurd nonsense was real, the UK opt out from justice and home affairs laws would apply anyway)
22/ Indeed, the opposite is true. Here's an excerpt from an EU law requiring custodial sentences to be available for child abuse. Similar laws apply to trafficking in persons, terrorism, organised crime, "cybercrime" and several other crimes.
23/ I hope that's sufficient to show the absurdity of this crap. Of course, the punch line is that some ERG claims are only slightly less bat****. //

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More from @StevePeers

Feb 1
The Attorney General's piece is subtly but profoundly dishonest in its presentation of how EU law is adopted. At no point does she mention that the UK *government* had a vote on the adoption of EU legislation - usually in favour, in some cases with a veto. 1/
2/ Two straight falsehoods here. At least a qualified majority of Member States is necessary in order to pass EU legislation (this falsehood appears twice); and the European Parliament can remove the Commission.
3/ As an answer on an EU law exam, this would fail. For a practicing lawyer, misstatements on this scale might raise questions of competence and/or integrity for professional regulatory bodies.

But this person is the Attorney General of the United Kingdom.
Read 5 tweets
Jan 12
The EU Council has agreed on a decision on operational coordination re external aspects of migration -…
The idea is to coordinate different aspects of EU reaction re migrants/refugees at the Belarus border. Frankly I think the legal basis here is dubious.
It implements the Council decision implementing the 'solidarity clause' in the treaties -…
The solidarity clause, Art 222 TFEU (…), is about reaction to "a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster"
One might argue that loss of life/living conditions on the Belarus border is a "man-made disaster", but the new decision does not explicitly set this out. Its focus is coordination of external aspects of migration, without referring back to the solidarity clause conditions.
Read 5 tweets
Jan 8
The legal analysis in Sumption's first paragraph would be liable to receive a failing grade if it appeared in a first year undergraduate law essay. Simply put, he does not acknowledge the existence of excuses in the law of criminal damage, which were argued and put to the jury.
Sumption may believe that the excuses should not apply to the facts of this case, and should not have been put to the jury. Fair enough - but that point needs to be made, at least briefly. As it stands, he leaves the reader with a misleading impression of the law and this case.
This piece is, of course, not a law essay. But it nevertheless makes an assertion about the law and its application to this case. On my view it is highly inappropriate for a former judge to make such an assertion in a way which misleads the public about the law and this case.
Read 8 tweets
Jan 5
The Home Office replies to @JolyonMaugham on the nationality bill to say that some comments have been misleading. Yes, but the Home Office makes *two* misleading statements of its own.
First of all, although the power of deprivation of citizenship has existed for some time, it has been expanded greatly in recent decades.
Read 11 tweets
Jan 3
CJEU, new cases

Novel point of asylum law - is a Member State responsible for an asylum application if it has issued a diplomatic card?
Summary of the background to this case -…
Doesn't mention which country the asylum seekers are from, or which Member State issued them with a diplomatic card. But interesting questions on the intersection of diplomatic law and asylum law.
CJEU, new asylum case II

Is human rights protection for asylum seekers so deficient in Malta that Member States should not send asylum seekers back there under the Dublin system?
Read 7 tweets
Dec 27, 2021
1/ On top of that, Habib's description of the TCA is full of falsehoods. The "level playing field" does *not* tie the UK to EU regulations: it provides that if either side reduces *its own* standards "in a manner affecting trade or investment", the other side can retaliate.
2/ In the absence of the TCA, the UK would not have that constraint - but it would also have less access to its largest export market, a point which Habib neglects to mention.
3/ As for tax cuts, the TCA "level playing field" provisions do not apply to tax rates in the first place. So they do *not* hinder the UK cutting any tax in any way. [tweet redone to correct typo]
Read 9 tweets

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