New Clause 3 — Report on the impact of the European Stability Mechanism on the economic performance of the European Union

Part of European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 10th September 2012.

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Photo of Emma Reynolds Emma Reynolds Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 7:30 pm, 10th September 2012

The objective of new clause 3, as I have set out, is for the Government to monitor closely and assess the impact of the European stability mechanism on the wider economy of the European Union. Our economy is closely connected to the other 26 economies of the EU, with regard to both trade and, crucially, our banking sector. Our banks are heavily exposed to developments in the financial sectors of the other member states. It is therefore important that the Government allow the House to scrutinise the impact of the ESM, as well as their own decisions on the level of influence they choose to have on these discussions, even though we are not a member of the eurozone. It is not our policy that we should join the euro, just to clarify that for the Minister once more. Even though that remains the case, as a big member state in the European Union we should have a significant voice in all its developments, including the conditionality imposed on eurozone member states that seek support from the European stability mechanism.

Such matters may not be our primary responsibility as a non-eurozone member state, but we would nevertheless like the Government to be less isolated and to have more influence on the discussions about conditionality, because, as I set out earlier, we have reservations about the harsh austerity that is being imposed on Greece and other member states and that will probably be attached to support from this fund as well as previous mechanisms. It is for that reason that we tabled new clause 3. We believe that it is important that the Chancellor of the Exchequer monitors these developments closely and gives this House the opportunity to comment on and debate them.