BRUSSELS These are key sections of the deal struck by European Union leaders with David Cameron, on which the prime minister announced he will campaign to maintain British membership of the bloc in a referendum on June 23.
"The Heads of State or Government of the 28 Member States ... whose Governments are signatories of the Treaties on which the Union is founded, desiring to settle, in conformity with the Treaties, certain issues raised by the United Kingdom ... Have agreed on the following Decision:..."
This preamble to the four parts of the agreement sets out that it is a binding international treaty among the 28 states, not requiring ratification by referendums and not needing immediate amendments to EU treaties -- something that would also in some states require lengthy and uncertain plebiscites. It also asserts the power of the states that signed the EU treaties to lay down interpretations for constitutional courts to follow.
First section of the deal reaffirms that Britain does not have to adopt the euro but also reasserts that all but one other EU state (Denmark) does have to. It also says the euro zone requires "further deepening" and that Britain will "facilitate" that, while having its own rights respected by the euro zone.
After hard bargaining with France, the text sets out how to maintain a "level playing field" in regulation between those institutions and markets in the euro zone and those in London.
"Supervision or resolution of financial institutions and markets ... in view of preserving the financial stability of (non-euro states)... is ... a matter for their own authorities and own budgetary responsibility ...
"This is without prejudice to the development of the single rulebook and to Union mechanisms of macro-prudential oversight for the prevention and mitigation of systemic financial risks in the Union and to the existing powers of the Union to take action that is necessary to respond to threats to financial stability."
These passages try to balance British and euro zone regulators. British officials believe they ensure London's leeway despite French efforts to limit how far Britain can give its banks a competitive advantage through lighter regulation.
Britain has no need to contribute to euro zone bailouts.
Britain alone is entitled to hold up euro zone measures it fears could hurt it by raising the matter at the level of national leaders. But it has no power of veto or filibuster.
"The substance of this Section will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision." This is one of two parts of the deal where governments have agreed they will amend the EU treaties as part of a broader reworking in years to come.
The least controversial element of the deal commits the EU to foster market competitiveness and cut red tape for business.
"The United Kingdom ... is not committed to further political integration into the European Union. The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision ... so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom."
In fact, most EU states do not see themselves bound to deeper political integration by the phrase "ever closer union" in the founding treaty. But it has become a political issue in Britain so this clarification is offered, hedged about with other wording to appease Belgium. It also argues that "ever closer union" is legally binding and, unlike Britain, wants it.
Britain won a new right for national parliaments, working in concert, to block EU legislative proposals they argue mean an unnecessary centralisation of lawmaking on an issue. The text also restates that national governments control their security.
The text reasserts rights to deny welfare benefits to non-working foreign EU citizens, to deport European criminals and those seen as a threat and to outlaw marriages of convenience.
"If overriding reasons of public interest make it necessary, free movement of workers may be restricted by measures proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued."
Asserting it is an established piece of EU jurisprudence, the EU proposes a "safeguard mechanism" by which a state may deny a new worker arriving from another EU country "non-contributory in-work" benefits for up to the first four years of employment. The definitions of the kind of benefit essentially mean only Britain can ever use it -- a key factor to win agreement from the east Europeans.
It also limits this emergency situation to seven years. In a separate text, the EU executive Commission said Britain already satisfied the conditions for asking to apply the mechanism. It will put the legislation to the European Parliament if Britain votes to stay in the EU. Parliamentary leaders back the measure.
A second piece of promised legislation will let states cut the amount of benefit paid to foreign EU workers for children living in another EU country according to an index reflecting the cost of living and local child benefits in that country. They will be able to index benefits for new claimants right away but for existing claimants only from 2020, appeasing easterners.
THIS PACKAGE WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IF ...
"Should the result of the referendum in the United Kingdom be for it to leave the European Union, the set of arrangements referred to ... above will cease to exist."
At the insistence of federalist states led by Belgium, the leaders underlined that Britain will not get another chance to renegotiate on the basis of the offer and the offer will not form a legal precedent for other states to seek a new deal.
(Editing by Richard Balmforth)
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Published Date: Feb 20, 2016 09:01 pm | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2016 09:01 pm