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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 5:44 pm on 6th November 2012.

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Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Conservative, Hertsmere 5:44 pm, 6th November 2012

I warmly welcome the approach taken by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe and the words that he used to describe the situation. However, I support the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend Mr Cash. It is an important amendment, which complements the Government’s motion. It questions the legality of the arrangements and, in particular, the voting arrangements, which I drew attention to in an intervention.

My right hon. Friend spoke entirely correctly—with great conviction and accuracy—about the lawfulness of the delegation of powers. The only comment that I make in addition to what my hon. Friend the Member for Stone said is that it is important, given that the EU is governed by a legal framework and is a treaty organisation, that we should have certainty when it comes to the legal provisions of those treaty arrangements. All too often we have seen not certainty but legal terms and conditions being overridden by political will. The situation that we are discussing looks very much like another case of that type, and in such cases one simply cannot trust the legal arrangements.

On the voting arrangements set out in the regulation on the European Central Bank and their implications for the European Banking Authority, while the single supervisory mechanism in the ECB concerns the eurozone, the European Banking Authority concerns all members of the European Union and the whole single market. It sets the rulebook for the single market and has important supervisory responsibilities. The arrangements in the ECB regulation are breathtaking. It is not just a question of having the political will for nations to cohere together; it is a condition of the EU’s law—a regulation—that the member states of the eurozone work together, co-ordinate their actions and take a common position when it comes to the European Banking Authority. That means that in the European Banking Authority’s arrangements for voting, the eurozone bloc will have the whip hand in each of the decisions taken. They will be determined in advance.

The situation is a bit like those council meetings that we sometimes see in this country in which political groups with a majority decide everything in advance in a caucus. They then go into the council to debate a decision, but everybody knows what it is going to be. The same is happening here—the European Banking Authority is being turned into a sham. All the decisions will have been taken elsewhere and in advance and we will be deprived of our say.