European Council

Part of Isil – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 19th October 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader 3:40 pm, 19th October 2015

It is appropriate, in the context of a European statement, to acknowledge the sadness across Europe about the last of the European nations exiting the rugby world cup. Our thoughts on these Benches are with Vern Cotter, Greig Laidlaw and the whole Scotland team—they did us proud.

Five of the six pages of the European Council conclusions rightly deal with the humanitarian crisis. Our EU neighbours are doing a great deal to help the refugees who have made it to Europe. As the Prime Minister knows, we support and acknowledge the role of the United Kingdom in helping refugees in Syria and the countries surrounding it, but will he confirm that he is prepared to reconsider his position and do more to help refugees who have made it into Europe?

In those six pages of European Council conclusions, there is not a single mention of whether the steel crisis was raised in the discussions. Did the Prime Minister raise the subject and, if he did, why is there no mention of it whatsoever in the conclusions?

The six pages of conclusions contain only two lines relating to the EU renegotiations that are being pursued by the UK. Meanwhile, we hear that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said:

“I cannot say huge progress has been achieved”,

and that the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has said:

“To have a negotiation, we need to know.”

Why is there such a gap between the experience of European Union Heads of Government and Heads of State, and the rhetoric that the Prime Minister has deployed today?