17 OCTOBER 2003
The Queen is said to be worried that the expansion of the European Union is in danger of undermining British sovereignty and the role of the monarchy. And Buckingham Palace has commissioned independent reports on the implications of the new EU constitution.
The palace is understood to be concerned the Queen's supreme authority as the guardian of the British constitution could be affected. Prime Minister Tony Blair, currently in Brussels finalising the plans, insists the agreement will not adversely affect British sovereignty, however.
According to article ten of the draft text on the future of Europe: "The constitution and law adopted by the Union's institutions in exercising competences conferred on it shall have primacy over the law of the member states."
The implication is that Britain's constitution, which embodies the role of the Queen as head of state, would theoretically be subordinate to that of the EU. MPs from both Labour and the Conservative Party have expressed concerns that the plans could threaten the House of Commons' right to override EU legislation. Downing Street insists those fears are unfounded, however, and the Queen's status will be unaffected.