The European Union Lisbon Treaty, backed by the House of Commons yesterday, would ensure children’s rights are protected in EU policies from January 2009 if approved by all member states.
The NSPCC and other children’s charities have given the controversial treaty strong backing because of provisions to “child proof” all EU laws and policies.
The treaty states: “The Union shall promote protection of the rights of the child. In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote the eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child.”
NSPCC director and chief executive, Dame Mary Marsh described it as a “landmark achievement”.
Marsh said: “The Lisbon Treaty will unite European nations in ensuring that the “best interests” of the child remain at the heart of all their external and internal policies. Among other benefits, this will help governments to defeat child sex abusers and traffickers who travel across Europe.”
However, though the European Union (Amendment) Bill, which would introduce the treaty into UK law, passed its second reading yesterday, the Conservatives are still calling for a referendum on the treaty. They claim there is no substantial difference between the Lisbon Treaty and the now defunct EU constitution, which Labour promised a referendum on in its 2005 general election manifesto.
The bill will return to the Commons shortly for MPs to propose amendments.
The Treaty of Lisbon
The European Union (Amendment) Bill
Background info: Amended EU Treaties
Background info: Treaty of Lisbon
Background info: What the Treaty of Lisbon will change
Foreign and Commonwealth Office