House of Lords EU development debate update

20 February 2012

The House of Lords focussed on the Eurozone crisis and EU growth yesterday (Thursday 16 February) in a debate following the latest European Union Committee report.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative) opened the debate which took note of developments in the EU. 'We want to see a reformed and strengthened European Union better able to cope with the new international pattern of powers and influences.

'The EU is not monolithic. Britain's agenda in Europe is to promote growth, competitiveness and jobs... Competitiveness remains Europe's Achille's heel.'

He spoke of Britain's commitment to 'reducing regulatory burdens' and 'pushing forward a patent package to support innovation'.

'We are also actively pushing for decisive action to get trade moving. We want 2012 to see significant movement on EU free trade agreements...

'For countries outside the European Union, the UK remains the gateway to the largest single market in the world. Of the 1,200 Indian firms operating in the EU, over half have their headquarters in the UK. Britain is a world-class destination for international business and the most attractive foreign direct investment destination in Europe, and remains so, being outside the euro does not affect that.'

Lord Mandelson (Labour) stated: 'Europe's growth is our growth. Europe's properity is our prosperity. If the European currency collapses amid a string of sovereign, corporate and banking defaults the knock-on effects for all of us will be calamitous.'

He supported the Chancellor of the Exchequer's 'constructive role in helping to get through this crisis. The rest of the government and the rest of his party - and, I might say, the Labour Party - should support the Chancellor, including in respect of the IMF's involvement in helping to get through this crisis.'

A library note was published ahead of the debate, which looked at issues under the Lords' spotlight and EU member states' agreement on fiscal compact in December 2011.

The debate follows the publication of a House of Lords European Union Committee report published on Tuesday 14 February on the EU area crisis.

The report reviews the unfolding crisis, UK safeguards and reviews a proposed treaty on the EU framework.

Other speakers included

Further information

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