Lord Owen argues that the Prime Minister is perfectly entitled in Brussels to invoke the Luxembourg Compromise

David Cameron is reputed to be considering using the Luxemburg Compromise in the European Council meeting this week.  He is not only fully entitled to do so, but the circumstances mirror the situation whereby an arrangement was reached by European Community Member States in January 1966 allowed for a decision requiring majority voting in the Council of Ministers to be postponed until unanimous agreement had been reached.  That became known as the Luxembourg Compromise and despite many claims that the Compromise disappeared during the course of 1980s it was reaffirmed in the most explicit way by the then socialist Prime Minister of France, Pierre Béregovoy, to the French National Assembly in the context of a crucial debate on the Maastricht Treaty on 12 May 1992. An English translation of what he said was as follows: “France has never given up and will not give up the right in a serious crisis to protect its fundamental interests. When the application of the majority rule would challenge interests judged vital for one of the states, the mutual commitment remains to continue to seek agreement among themselves.”

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