From Klein Verzet we learn that Bruno Waterfield 'tweets':
"EU to avoid any votes - parliamentary or popular on treaty change - via obscure Lisbon Treaty 'passerelle' clause, Art. 126 (14) via protocol 12. "This decision does not require ratification at national level. This procedure could therefore lead to rapid and significant changes," says confidential Van Rompuy text. Funnily enough, only Britain will have to have a parliamentary vote under the Tories recent Sovereignty Act even though it is eurozone only changes."
This 'news' also appeared here, which begs the question what exactly are these 'amendments'? Protocol 12 deals with the matter of 3% for the ratio of the planned or actual government deficit to GDP at market prices and the 60% ration of government debt to GDP at market prices. It also lays down the obligation that Member States should ensure that national procedures in the budgetary area enable them to meet thier obligations in this area and that Member States will report their planned and actual deficits and the levels of their debt promptly and regularly to the Commission.
One can but wonder how that Protocol can be 'amended'; we must remember that Van Rompuy is not looking to end the economic crisis, his priority is the EU gaining more political control, and any amendment would cement that aim. As it only pertains to the Euro17, it can be done by ministers in Council using a majority vote at the meeting of the Heads of State this week. Of course if the '17' vote as a 'caucus' at the meeting then Rompuy will have 'got his way'! What will be interesting is what Cameron is going to say and how he will 'wriggle' out his 'self-induced' 'hole' bearing in mind all his utterances of 'safeguarding', 'protecting' and 'promoting British interests'.
Especially as a Protocol is an integral part of a EU treaty and as such requires unanimous approval as it is but 'treaty change' - and thus is subject to ratitication of member states.
So, Mr. Cameron, when is the referendum - or will you actually utter that two letter word beginning with 'N'?
Just asking, you understand......................
Update: It would appear, so I am informed, that 'our Bruno' is incorrect in that even at a basic minimum, the Ponsonby rules would apply, giving the opportunity for a debate and a vote. Nor is the issue with the name (as in "protocol") but with the nature of the change. A treaty structure may be such that the protocols form the substantive part ... they may thus be major changes, which would require full-blown ratification via the ECA (European Communities Act). This is the case when we see treaty amendments via accession treaties. The ECA is amended to add the new treaty, which takes in the protocals ... thereby affirming the need for parliamentary ratification.
Further update: Just working through it, a protocol is still an integral part of a treaty thus changes require unanimous approval AND national ratification. Furthermore, a 'passerelle' can't be used if that confers new competences.
Yet further update: Richard North, EU Referendum, joins the fray.........