Euratom was not on the ballot paper

Embed from Getty Images

The Treaties of Rome of 1957 founded the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to create a European market for nuclear power. Its membership includes EU member states and has cooperation agreements with third-party countries like Canada, the US, South Africa.

In its Brexit White Paper that invokes Article 50, the UK will be leaving Euratom. Euratom is legally distinct from the EU but is governed by EU institutions and therefore this UK Government is looking to leave Euratom.

Some of the Brexit implications of leaving Euratom are:-

  • Adverse effect on nuclear fusion research;
  • Safety and non-proliferation: An element of reinventing the wheel will result as the Government will have to develop its own rules for nuclear non-proliferation compliance safeguards and the management of nuclear waste for example;
  • Free movement of capital and labour will be affected thereby increasing the cost of construction following lengthy renegotiation of legal contracts;
  • Supply of nuclear fuels, this is especially an issue for radioactive material required for cancer patients;

Commenting in the wake of a Government defeat on the Nuclear Safeguards Bill, Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Spokesperson Lynne Featherstone said:

The Government’s plans for post-Brexit nuclear safeguards have been weighed and found wanting by the House of Lords.

It is clear there is no confidence in the Government’s ability to secure an appropriate nuclear safeguards regime by the time exit day comes around. This vote will help ensure we are able to meet our international safeguarding obligations by halting our withdrawal from Euratom unless certain standards are met.

Leaving Euratom was not on the ballot paper, and doing so will make us worse off. This cross-party effort, based on an amendment originally tabled by the Lib Dems, sends a clear signal that we will fight for the best protection for the United Kingdom, be that remaining part of Euratom, or indeed the European Union itself.



* Tahir Maher is a former Chair of South Central Liberal Democrats and lives in Wokingham.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Leaving Euratom was not on the ballot paper

    But it’s covered by the doctrine of implied repeal, surely?

  • Bill le Breton 21st Mar '18 - 7:26pm

    Won’t Guy Verhofstadt and the EU Parliament’s proposal for Associate Membership allow for continued membership of Euratom?

  • @Bill le Breton – The problem wasn’t the EU insisting the UK had to leave Euratom, but with T.May Brexiteers wanting to sever all connections with the EU, where Westminster might have to implement directives that had their origins in Brussels…

  • Bill le Breton 22nd Mar '18 - 11:17am

    Roland, I realise that and thanks as ever for clarification.

    My point was that this is not an argument against Brexit as there are alternatives that exist that would not mean leaving Euratom.

    Lib Dems continue to absent themselves from the debate and campaigns around what kind of relationship after 31st December 2020 in favour of outright opposition.

    We should be supporting and campaigning for Guy Verhofstadt and the European Parliament’s initiative, unambiguously.

  • Laurence Cox 22nd Mar '18 - 2:05pm

    @Bill Le Breton
    If Lib Dem Leavers want to be constructive instead of slagging off the rest of us who want to Remain, they should be making the case for our continued membership of the EEA and the CU. This would mean that we accepted the continuing authority of the ECJ and would enable us to stay in organisations like Euratom.

    Of course, Rees-Mogg and his ilk would accuse us of becoming a “vassal state” if we did, but if we cannot get this irrational referendum decision reversed it would be better to be a “vassal state” than a “failed state”.

  • Bill le Breton 22nd Mar '18 - 2:21pm

    Laurence, I think I was the first on this site to advocate membership of the EEA.

    Perhaps fair minded people will read our two posts and decide who is doing the slagging.

  • Richard Sangster 22nd Mar '18 - 2:51pm

    Potentially, there is a lot of reinventing the wheel about BREXIT!

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 23rd Mar '18 - 3:57pm

    One of the reasons I put this post up is because we actually don’t have to leave Eruatom.
    Same for the European Court of Human Rights it is not part of the EU. It’s a Tory obsession

  • Bill le Breton 23rd Mar '18 - 4:52pm

    That is a helpful clarification

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Michael BG
    Simon R The restraints on government spending are not the amount they can borrow but the amount they should spend. It is too much money chasing too few goods...
  • Simon R
    Great to see the practical suggestions in this article, both for how to get more people and women from ethnic minorities involved in politics, and to get more p...
  • Simon R
    @Nonconformistradical: Sure, and you need to make sure the system being used is accurate. That's the responsibility of the developers of the system, working wit...
  • George Thomas
    New Zealand deal is worth between -.01 and +0.1 to the economy and puts farmers across the UK at a disadvantage which is especially worrying in places such as N...
  • Jeff
    Roland 21st Oct '21 - 7:34pm: …with the current downward pressure on oil consumption, we can expect there to be a glut of oil in the world market i...