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Banking Union and Economic and Monetary Union

Part of Free School Meals (Children Over the Age of 16) – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 6th November 2012.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 4:59 pm, 6th November 2012

As my hon. Friend knows, the ECB aspect of the regulation requires unanimity, and we regard both aspects of this as reinforcing each other. We have made it plain, as I am doing from the Dispatch Box today, that it is an absolute requirement that we will not be dominated by the ECB. After the Prime Minister goes to the Council he will come back to this House. If he has been able to establish agreement, he will set out what that is, and if not, he will set out why it was not possible.

Let me deal with the second part of my hon. Friend’s amendment, where he draws attention to the need to ensure that the powers of the ECB’s governing council are not delegated to the single supervisory function in a way that is unlawful in terms of the treaties. That is a serious matter. It is vital that the weighty responsibilities that the single supervisory mechanism will discharge are vested in a way that is accepted to be legal. His observation in his amendment that it would ultimately be a matter for the European Court of Justice if there were doubts about the legality of the final arrangements is very constructive and accurate, and I hope that he will accept my assurance that our criteria in evaluating the SSM will be as in his amendment. In other words, they will be: first, that it is lawful—we reserve the right to establish that; secondly, that the integrity of the single market is respected, as I said; and, thirdly, that the UK cannot be discriminated against in the way that is proposed.