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European Council, Stockholm

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:05 pm on 26th March 2001.

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Photo of Baroness Jay of Paddington Baroness Jay of Paddington President of the Council, Privy Council Office 4:05 pm, 26th March 2001

My Lords, the noble Viscount will be even more aware than I am that in European matters these things sometimes take time to unfold. The position of the UK Government on this and many other features of the post-Lisbon process is to take the lead in influencing and persuading colleagues in the European Union to take advantage of the process set up under Lisbon to revisit these matters, as I said to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, on a regular basis so that bench-marks can be agreed, goals can be set and specific terms can be set in relation to a desire to move forward. For example, the agreed key priority on the Lamfalussi--the financial services ambition--is to agree the single securities market by 2003. That seems to be a very specific objective and one that can be bench-marked and checked as time goes on. I do not believe that there is any sense in which the French are specifically dragging their feet on this matter. It is really a question, as the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, said, that might have run foul of some of the concerns of the European Parliament, but even those concerns seem to have been met.