Clause 1 — Approval of draft decisions under Article 352 of TFEU

Part of European Union (Approvals) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 27th January 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 4:45 pm, 27th January 2014

The hon. Gentleman’s point is not pertinent to the discussion, because the question is this: how will money be spent in the future? The Minister should tell us what measures he will take to prevent it from going to such political organisations. On Second Reading, I asked him many questions that I hope he will answer this afternoon. What will the application process be? Who will get the money? How can we spread it across the whole country, not just organisations that have been habitual beneficiaries, so as to spread an understanding of Europe? Government Members display such understanding in great measure, but they are much better informed about the mechanisms of the EU than most people in this country, and I do not understand why they want to keep this knowledge to themselves. It is profoundly undemocratic.

I agreed, however, with Mr Nuttall when he raised the issue of money going to non-EU member states under the theme of enlargement and work. It seems to me that whereas we have settled European policies on, for example, education and culture, enlargement is much more contentious.

That brings me to my next point. I am not going to ask the Minister what the process would be if he wanted to veto the regulation, because it is patently absurd to say that because we have a veto, we should use it. There are other matters relating to Europe that I think it would be far more important to veto than this. [Interruption.] Conservative Members are tempting me down a path down which I think it would be wrong for me to go. What I want to ask the Minister is this: what would be the process for amending the regulation, rather than rejecting it in its entirety? We need to get on with some of this work, and we do not want too much delay.